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FROM 330 B.C. TO 330 A.D. 



(Honorary) Foreign Secretary Society of Biblical Archaeology, 

Member of Council Royal Asiatic Society, 
Member of Committee Egypt Exploration Fund, &c. 

11 The ghosts of words and dusty dreams " 
"Old memories, faiths infirm and dead" 



Cambridge : 
at the University Press 




Expectation of Parusia causes Gnosticism to be ignored by Apostolic 
writers Change in Christian teaching at end of 1st century Destruction 
of Temple of Jerusalem, forces Christians to separate from Jews Some 
compromise with heathenism necessary Coveted position of Christian 
bishops Founders of Gnostic sects Only evidence of their teaching 
till lately, Irenaeus and Epiphanius, both unsatisfactory Discovery of 
Philosophumena of Hippolytus, and Salmon and Stahelin's attacks on 
its credibility The Pistis Sophia and Bruce Papyrus General features 
of Post-Christian Gnostics Their belief in Divinity and Historicity of 
Jesus Difficulties arising from this and their various solutions Secrecy 
of doctrine common among Gnostics and consequent calumnies Many 
Gnostic doctrines still doubtful Parallel between the Gnostic and 
Protestant sects Gnosticism bridge between heathenism and Christianity 
Effect of this on Catholic practice and doctrine . . Pages 1-24 


Different accounts of origin of Ophites Alteration from time to time 
of their doctrines Phrygia first home of Ophites and its history Its 
religion and bi-sexual deity lead to theocrtma Jewish settlements in 
Phrygia and their apostasy Addiction of Phrygian Jews to magic 
Their connection with Cabala uncertain Ineffable First Cause of the 
Ophites The Great Light or Supreme Being at once Father-and-Son 
Female Deity necessary in Phrygia Formation of Supreme Triad of 
Father, Mother, and Son- Messenger of Triad called Christos--- Creation 
of Universe by Powers intermediate between God and man, and 
Legend of Sophia Sophia's son laldabaoth the Demiurge, the seven 
heavens, and their rulers The Ophiomorphus or serpent-shaped god, 
whence derived Passions of mankind derived from Ophiomorphus, but 
latter not bad-creation of Man by planetary powers The seven earthly 
demons, Talmud, and Cabala Man's soul brought from above by Christos 

Y! Contents 

The soul of the world and the Mysteries Ophites followers of Jesus, 
but believe in salvation through Mysteries Scheme of redemption and 
abstinence from generation Composite nature of Jesus, His earthly life, 
passion, and resurrection Rites attributed to Ophites Naassene Hymn 
and its explanation Changes of man's soul and Gospel according to the 
Egyptians Necessity of guide through next world like Book of the Dead 
Celsus' Diagram described and explained "Defences" or Apologiae of 
soul added by Origen Explanation of and commentary on Diagram and 
Defences Spread and decay of Ophite sect Gradual modification of their 
doctrines and connection with the Pistis Sophia Apocryphal Gospels 
used by Ophites: extracts quoted Ophites apply fantastic interpretation 
to all literature 25-82 



Early Ophites probably uneducated General softening of manners 
under Julian Emperors and development of morality Change in ethical 
ideals of Gnosticism probably starts in Alexandria Doctrines of Saturninus 
and Basilides Basilides' system never intended for public use and probably 
merges in that of Valentinus Links with Simon Magus and Ophites 
Success of Valentinus' teaching and abuse of him by Fathers Valentinus* 
theology : Bythos either bi-sexual or makes syzygy with Sige Emanation 
of Ogdoad Valentinus' statements as to this possibly metaphors 
Emanation of Decad and Dodecad Names of Aeons and their explanation 
Sophia and her Fall in Valentinus' system Her Ectroma and emanation 
of Christos, the Holy Spirit, and the Cross Sophia Without and Jesus the 
Joint Emit of the Pleroma Formation of worlds from passions of Sophia 
Without and their rulers The different natures of men and demons 
The Heavenly Banquet Valentinus* predestinarian views contrasted 
with Ophites' Salvation of Psychics by Jesus Valentinus' account of 
Crucifixion doubtful Life of Valentinus His successors Italic School: 
Ptolemy, Secundus, and Heracleon Anatolic School: Axionicus, Bar- 
desanes, Theodotus, and Alexander Life of Bardesanes and his Hymns 
Valentinus' innovations on Christianity and attitude of early Fathers 
towards them His use of metaphor and "God is Love" Exegesis of 
Valentinus and his followers and his pastoral attitude Did Valentinus 
ever attempt to break with Church or to found secret sect? Valentinus* 
compliance with heathenism attracts rich and learned Dangers of this 
for Church Proceedings of Marcus Spread of sect after Valentinus 9 
death Ptolemy's letter to [Flora Egypt natural home of sect Its Decay 
Half-way house between earlier Gnosticism and Catholicism 83-133 



Expectation of Parusia causes Gnosticism to be ignored by Apostolic 
writers Change in Christian teaching at end of ist century Destruction 
of Temple of Jerusalem forces Christians to separate from Jews Some 
compromise with heathenism necessary Coveted position of Christian 
bishops Founders of Gnostic sects Only evidence of their teaching 
till lately, Irenaeus and Epiphanius, both unsatisfactory Discovery of 
PMlosopkumena of Hippolytus, and Salmon and Stahelin's attacks on 
its credibility The Pistis Sophia and Bruce Papyrus General features 
of Post- Christian Gnostics Their belief in Divinity and Historicity of 
Jesus Difficulties arising from this and their various solutions Secrecy 
of doctrine common among Gnostics and consequent calumnies Many 
Gnostic doctrines still doubtful Parallel between the Gnostic and 
Protestant sects Gnosticism bridge between heathenism and Christianity 
Effect of this on Catholic practice and doctrine . . Pages 1-24 


Different accounts of origin of Ophites Alteration from time to time 
of their doctrines Phrygia first home of Ophites and its history Its 
religion and bi-sexual deity lead to theocrasia Jewish settlements in 
Phrygia and their apostasy Addiction of Phrygian Jews to magic 
Their connection with Cabala uncertain Ineffable First Cause of the 
Ophites The Great Light or Supreme Being at once Father-and-Son 
Female Deity necessary in Phrygia Formation of Supreme Triad of 
Father, Mother, and Son Messenger of Triad called Christos Creation 
of Universe by Powers intermediate between God and man, and 
Legend of Sophia Sophia's son laldabaoth the Demiurge, the seven 
heavens, and their rulers The Ophiomorphus or serpent-shaped god, 
whence derived Passions of mankind derived from Ophiomorphus, but 
latter not bad Creation of Man by planetary powers The seven earthly 
demons, Talmud, and Cabala Man's soul brought from above by Christos 

vi Contents 

The soul of the world and the Mysteries Ophites followers of Jesus, 
but believe in salvation through Mysteries Scheme of redemption and 
abstinence from generation Composite nature of Jesus, His earthly life, 
passion, and resurrection Rites attributed to Ophites Naassene Hymn 
and its explanation Changes of man's soul and Gospel according to the 
Egyptians Necessity of guide through next world like Boole of the Dead 
Celsus' Diagram described and explained "Defences" or Apologiae of 
soul added by Origen Explanation of and commentary on Diagram and 
Defences Spread and decay of Ophite sect Gradual modification of their 
doctrines and connection with the Pistis Sophia Apocryphal Gospels 
used by Ophites : extracts quoted Ophites apply fantastic interpretation 
to all literature 25-82 



Early Ophites probably uneducated General softening of manners 
under Julian Emperors and development of morality Change in ethical 
ideals of Gnosticism probably starts in Alexandria Doctrines of Saturninus 
and Basilides Basilides' system never intended for public use and probably 
merges in that of Valentinus Links with Simon Magus and Ophites 
Success of Valentinus' teaching and abuse of him by Fathers Valentinus' 
theology : Bythos either bi-sexual or makes syzygy with Sig Emanation 
of Ogdoad Valentinus' statements as to this possibly metaphors- 
Emanation of Decad and Dodecad Names of Aeons and their explanation 
Sophia and her Fall in Valentinus' system Her Ectroma and emanation 
of Christos, the Holy Spirit, and the Cross- Sophia Without and Jesus the 
Joint Fruit of the Pleroma Formation of worlds from passions of Sophia 
Without and their rulers The different natures of men and demons 
The Heavenly Banquet Valentinus' predestinarian views contrasted 
with Ophites' Salvation of Psychics by Jesus Valentinus' account of 
Crucifixion doubtful Life of Valentinus His successors Italic School: 
Ptolemy, Secundus, and Heracleon Anatolic School: Axionicus, Bar- 
desanes, Theodotus, and Alexander Life of Bardesanes and his Hymns 
Valentinus' innovations on Christianity and attitude of early Fathers 
towards them His use of metaphor and "God is Love" Exegesis of 
Valentinus and his followers and his pastoral attitude Did Valentinus 
' ever attempt to break with Church or to found secret sect? Vakntinus' 
compliance with heathenism attracts rich and learned Dangers of this 
for Church Proceedings of Marcus Spread of sect after Valentanus* 
death Ptolemy's letter to FloraeEgypt natural home of sect Its Decay 
-Half-way house between earlier Gnosticism and Catholicism 83-183 

Contents yii 



Description of the Pistis Sophia MS. Story of two first parts Pre- 
terrestrial acts of Jesus Incarnation and Second Ascension with address 
of the Powers Arrangement of Heavenly Worlds and their occupants: 
the Powers above and below the Veil : those of the Right, Middle, and Left 
The starry world Adventures of Jesus' passage to the upper worlds 
He changes the course of the stars Meeting of Jesus with Pistis Sophia 
and her history Is the Pistis Sophia the Interrogations of Mary ? Ophite 
features in Pistis Sophia Valentinian ones more marked Joys of elect 
in next world and places according to mysteries Mysteries are sacraments 
Eucharistic grace revealed in book Complete union of worshippers with 
deity confined to few Egyptian features in book Existing MS., Coptic 
version of Greek text Original work probably by Valentinus The Texts 
of the Saviour : a thaumaturgic work Its continuation Texts of the 
Saviour later than Pistis Sophia and quotations from them Are the Texts 
by Marcus the Magician ? The Bodleian Papyrus Bruce and its divisions 
One fragment must be later than Pistis Sophia Another connected 
with the Texts of the Saviour Dr Karl Schmidt's views as to date, etc. 
discussed Increase of post-mortem terrors in later books, a peculiarly 
Egyptian feature Degeneration of Gnosticism in Egypt and its magical 
tendencies 111 effects of this upon Egyptian Christianity Services 
.rendered to Church by Gnosticism generally . . . 134-202 



Increase of anti- Jewish feeling in Rome under Antoninus Pius History 
of Marcion Terror of Church at Marcion's doctrine Uncompromising 
character of Marcionism Marcion's expurgation of Scripture His 
Antitheses His Two Gods His Docetic views His anti-Jewish teaching 
His treatment of the Pauline EpistlesHis abhorrence of allegory 
The original nature of his system and its resemblance to Protestantism- 
Puritanism of Marcionitea History of Marcionism Rise of sects within 
it Marcion's follower ApeHes leans towards Catholicism Tatian's, 
Encratites', and other variations of Marcionism After Constantine, many 
Marcionites rejoin Church Others coalesce with Manichaeans Failure of 
Marcion's attempted reform Interest of Marcion's heresy for later ages 


viii Contents 



Reaction of East towards Persia in Roman times Struggle between 
Rome and Persia only closes with Mahommedan Invasion Rome leans 
to Persian fashions and proclaims Mithras protector of Empire How 
Mithraism reached Rome Its propagation by the soldiery- Mithras may 
have been originally god of Western Asia His place in Persian religion 
Magism, its tenets and connection with magic And with astrology 
Uncertainty as to Mithraic tenets and Cumont's theory Roman ideas as 
to Ormuzd and Ahriman Connection of Mithras with the Sun The 
Legend of Mithras Explanation of Tauroctony The Mithraic Eucharist 
or Banquet Mithras probably the only god for his worshippers HiB 
position midway between heaven and earth Ahriman in Mithraism 
Identified with Greek Hades Lord of Destiny The seven spheres in 
Mithraism Eclecticism of Mithraics as to worship of other gods Possibly 
as to Christianity also The Mysteries of Mithras The seven degrees of 
initiation Privileges of higher initiates doubtful The so-called Mithraic 
Liturgy The priests and ceremonies of Mithraism Likeness of Mithraism 
to Freemasonry and its political uses Decline of Mithraism on loss of 
Dacia Its extinction under Gratian Exclusion of women from mysteries 
drawback to Mithraism Not attractive save to soldiers Survivals of 
Mithraism in royal titles And in magic and astrology . 224-276 



Contrast between Mithraism and Manichaeism Life and Death of 
Manes ArdeshSr, son of Sassan, finds religion necessary to State Restores 
Zoroastrianism Manichaeism a Zoroastrian heresy Christian account of 
origin of Manichaeism too late Manes' cardinal doctrines Persian 
Conflict between Light and Darkness Satan and the First Man Defeat 
of latter and creation of Universe The Redemption of the Light Birth 
and ancestry of Adam Jesus sent as Saviour to Adam Infidelity of Eve 
and its results Likeness of these to Mandaite stories Bdles of Buddha, 
Zoroaster, and Jesus in Manichaeism The salvation and transmigration 
of souls The death of the perfect righteous* Of the Hearer 'Distinction 
between Perfect and Hearer peculiar to Manichaeism Obligations of 
Hearers Hatred of Manes for Jews Manes aims at syncretic religion 

Contents ix 

MSS. found at Turfan prove chameleon-like character of Manichaeism 
Manichaeans are Christians among Christians, Buddhists among Buddhists 
Manichaean Cosmogony and Anthropogony in Bar Kh6ni and the Tur- 
kestan MSS. Organization of Manichaean Church Ritual of Manichaeans 
confined to prayers and hymns Manichaean prayers from Mahommedan 
sources Khuastuanift or Manichaean Litany from Turkestan given with 
commentary Perfect redeem Light by eating food Hearers' fasts help 
scheme of redemption Sacrament among Manichaeans doubtful Sym- 
bolical pictures in Manichaean Churches Festivals of the Bema, Christmas, 
and Sunday Manichaean Scriptures Manichaean treatise found at Tun- 
huang The two great archangels and the division of the sexes History 
of Manichaeism 277-357 


End of Paganism Supremacy of Christianity in West Its borrowings 
from its defeated rivals Triumph of Christianity survival of fittest 





IT will be seen, from what has been said in the first 
volume, that, even at the beginning of the Christian era, 
there was no lack of aipeo-is or choice of creeds offered to 
those peoples of the Levant who had outgrown their national 
religions ; and it may be a surprise to many that more notice 
was not taken by the Christians of the Apostolic age of 
these early essays at a universal faith. Some writers, indeed, 
among whom Bishop Lightfoot is perhaps the most notable, 
have thought that they could detect allusions to them in the 
Canonical writings, and that by the "worshipping of angels, 
intruding into those things which man hath not seen, vainly 
puffed up by the understanding of his flesh 1 " which St Paul 
condemns in the Epistle to the Colossians, must be understood 
the teachings of Gnostic sects already in existence 2 . Others 
have gone further, and think that the Fourth Gospel was itself 
written under Gnostic influence 3 , and that the Apocalypse 
attributed to the same author vituperates under the name of 
the Nicolaitans a Christian sect professing Gnostic tenets 4 . 
Even if this be so, however, the comparatively late date assigned 
to all these documents 5 must prevent their being received as 

1 CoL ii. 18. 

2 Lightfoot, St PauVs Epistle to the Colossians, pp. 90 sqq. 

3 So A. Julicher in Encyc. BibL s.v. Gnosis. 

* Irenaeus, op, tit. Bk I. c. 23, p. 214, Harvey. Salmon in Diet, of 
Christian Bipg. s.v. Nicolaitans, thinks this an idea peculiar to Irenaeus 
alone and not to be found in the older source from which he drew his 
account of the other Gnostics. 

5 The Canonical Apocalypse was prohahly written after the siege 
of Jerusalem by Titus in 70 AJ>. while the first unmistakable mention 
we have of St John's Gospel is by Theophilus of Antioch a hundred 
years later. Earlier quotations from it are anonymous, i.e. they give the 
words of the Gospel as in the A.V. but without referring them to any specified 
author. See Duchesne, Early Christian Church, Eng. ed. pp. 102, 192. 

L. n. 1 

2 Post-Christian Gnostics [OH. 

evidence of what happened in the earliest stage of the Christian 
Church ; and we find no proof that Gnosticism ever seriously 
competed for popular favour with orthodox Christianity until 
well into the nnd century 1 . That the first Christians would take 
little heed either of organized religions like that of the Alex- 
andrian divinities, or of the speculations of the Orphic poets 
and of such sects as the Simonians is plain, when we consider 
the way in which their expectation of the Parusia or Second 
Coming dominated every moment of their lives 2 . They believed 
with the unquestioning faith of children that their dead Master 
would presently return to the earth, and that it would then be 
destroyed to make way for a new state of things in which, while 
the majority of mankind would be condemned to everlasting 
fire, His followers should taste all the joys of Paradise. With 
this before their eyes, they turned, as has been said, their 
possessions into a common fund 3 , they bound themselves 
together in a strict association for mutual help and comfort, 
and they set to work to sweep their fellows into the Christian 
fold with an earnestness and an energy that was the fiercer 
because the time for its exercise was thought to be so short. 
" The Lord is at hand and His reward," a saying which seems 
to have been a password among them 4 , was an idea never 
absent from their minds, and the result was an outburst of 
proselytism such as the world till then had never seen. 

" They saw," says a writer who was under no temptation to exag- 
gerate the charity and zeal of the primitive Church, cc their fathers 
and mothers, their sisters and their dearest friends, hurrying onward to 
that fearful pit, laughing and singing,, lured on by the fiends whom 
they called the gods. They felt as we should feel were we to see a 

blind man walking towards a river bank Who that could hope 

to save a soul by tears and supplications would remain quiescent 

1 Hegesippus, quoted by Eusebius, Hiti* fled. Bk IV. o. 22, says that the 
Church was untroubled by heresy until the reign of Trajan. 

* Hegesippus (see last note) in his account of the martyrdom of " James 
the Brother of the Lord," op. tit. Bk ti. c. 23. 

8 See Sohmiedel, Encyc. BiU. $.v. Community of Goods. Cf. Lucian, 
de Mort. Peregrini, c. xm, and Mozley's comments in Diet. Qhriaticm Mog. 
s.v. Lucianus. 

* Maran atha. See Epistle of Barnabas, c. XXL 

vn] Post-Christian Grnostics 3 

as men do now ? In that age every Christian was a mis- 
sionary. The soldier sought to win recruits for the heavenly host ; 
the prisoner of war discoursed to his Persian jailer ; the slave girl 
whispered the gospel in the ears of her mistress as she built up the 
mass of towered hair ; there stood men in cloak and beard at street 
corners who, when the people, according to the manners of the day, 
invited them to speak, preached, not the doctrines of the Painted 
Porch, but the words of a new and strange philosophy ; the young 
wife threw her arms round her husband's neck and made him agree 
to be baptised, that their souls might not be parted after death 1 " 

How could people thus preoccupied be expected to concern 
themselves with theories of the origin of a world about to perish, 
or with the philosophic belief that all the gods of the nations 
were but varying forms of one supreme and kindly power ? 
Before the end of the ist century, however, this belief in 
the immediate nearness of the Second Coming had died away 2 . 
The promise that the second Gospel puts into the mouth of 
Jesus that some of His hearers should not taste of death until 
they saw the Son of Man come with power 3 , had become in- 
capable of fulfilment by the death of the last of those who had 
listened to Him. Nor were all the converts to the faith which 
His immediate disciples had left behind them possessed with the 
same simple faith and mental equipment as themselves 4 . To 
the poor fishermen and peasants of Judaea had succeeded the 
slaves and freedmen of great houses including even Caesar's 
own, some of them professionally versed in the philosophy of 
the time, and all with, a greater or less acquaintance with the 
religions beliefs of the non-Jewish citizens of the great Roman 
Empire 5 . The preachings and journeys of St Paul and* other 
missionaries had also brought into the Christian Church many 
believers of other than Jewish blood, together with the foreign 

1 Winwood Reade, op. cit. pp. 237 sqq. 

2 Eugene de Faye, '* Formation d'un Doctrine de Dieu au nme Siecle," 
R.H.R. t. T,TTTT. (19H), p. 9. He quotes Harnack in his support. 

a Mark xi 1. 

* On the ignorance of the first Christian writers, see de Faye, op. tit. 
p. 4. 

6 Origen, cant. Celsum, Bk m. c. 12. Of. Rriiger, La Ghrande Ewcydo- 
Paris, a.v. Gnosticisme. 


4: Post-Christian Gnostics [OH. 

merchants and members of the Jewish communities scattered 
throughout the Roman world, who were better able than the 
Jews of Palestine to appreciate the stability and the organized 
strength of the Roman Empire and to desire an alliance with 
it. To ask such men, deeply engaged as many of them were 
in the pursuit of wealth, to join in the temporary communism 
and other-worldliness practised by the first Christian Church 
would have been as futile as to expect the great Jewish banking- 
houses of the present day to sell all that they have and give 
it to the poor. 

Another cause that profoundly altered the views of the early 
Christian communities must have been the catastrophe and final 
dispersion of the Jewish nation. Up to the time of the des- 
truction of the Temple of Jerusalem under Titus, the Christians 
not only regarded themselves as Jews 1 , but were looked upon 
by such of the other subjects of Rome as had happened to have 
heard of them, as merely one sect the more of a race always 
factious and given to internal dissensions. Yet even in St 
Paul's time, the Christians were exposed to a bitter persecution 
at the hands of those orthodox Jews who seemed to the Gentile 
world to be their co-religionists 2 , and it is probable that in 
the outbreak of fanaticism attending the first Jewish war, 
they suffered severely at the hands of both combatants 3 . The 
burning of the Temple must also have been a crushing blow 
to all who looked for a literal and immediate fulfilment of the 

1 " Those which say they are Jews, but are not '* ; Rev. ii 9 ; ibid. 
ill 9. The Clementine Homilies, though of much later date, never speak 
of the Christians otherwise than as Jews. Of. Ducheane, fflarly Christian 
Church, p, 12. 

2 Acts viii. 1. 

a B-enan (L'Ant&hristi p. 511, and note 1) gives a passage, which he 
thinks is from Tacitus, showing that Titus aimed at the suppression of the 
Christians as well as the Jews. Doubtless many Christians perished in the 
punitive measures taken in the 1st century against the Jews in Antioch 
and elsewhere. Cf. Josephus, Wars of the Jews, Bk vn, o. 3 ; Eusebius, 
H. S. Bk nr. co. 12, 17, 19, 20. It was the persecution by the fanatical 
Jews that compelled the flight of the Christians to Pella shortly before th 
siege. See Eusebius, Bk m. c. 5 ; Epiph. Maer. xxix, c. 7, p. 239, OeUer. 
The episode of the "Woman clothed with the Sun*' of the Canonical 
Apocalypse is supposed by some to refer to this. 

vn] Post-Christian Gnostics 5 

Messianic hope, and its result was to further accentuate the 
difference between the Christians and the Jews 1 . Moreover, the 
hatred and scorn felt by these last for all other members of 
the human race had now been recognized by the Gentiles 2 , and 
the repeated insurrections attempted by the Jews between the 
time of Titus and the final war of extermination under Hadrian 
showed that these feelings were shared by the Jewish communi- 
ties outside Palestine 3 . It was therefore not at all the time 
which worldly-wise and prudent men, as many of the later 
Christian converts were, would choose for identifying themselves 
with a race which not only repudiated the relationship in the 
most practical way, but had lately exposed themselves on other 
grounds to the deserved execration of the civilized world. 

It is, then, by no means surprising that some of the new 
converts should have begun to look about them for some 
compromise between their recently acquired convictions and 
the religious beliefs of the Graeco-Boman world in which they 
had been brought up, and they found this ready to their hand 
in the pre-Christian sects which we have ventured above to 
class together under the generic name of Gnostic. In the 
Orphic poems, they found the doctrine of successive ages of 
the world, each with its different characteristics, which coincided 
well enough with the repeated declaration of the Christians 
that the old world was passing away, as was indeed the fact 

1 So that the members of the little Church of Pella who retained the 
name of Jews gradually ceased to be regarded as orthodox by the other 
Christian communities and were called Ebionites. See Renan, UAidi- 
christ, p. 548. Of. Fuller in Diet. Christian Biog. s*v. Ebionites for authori- 
ties. The connection that Fuller would find between the Essenes and the 
Ebionites seems to rest on little proof. 

2 Thus Mgr Duchesne, op. cit. p. 14, says that " St Paul was a Jew by 
birth, imbued with the exclusiyeness and disdainful spirit which inspired 
his race and influenced all their dealings with other nations." 

3 Many of the Sicarii and other fanatics managed to escape before the 
catastrophe of the First Jewish War to Egypt and the Cyrenaica, where 
they continued to commit outrages and make rebellion until they brought 
on themselves and their co-religionists the wrath of the Romans. See 
Josephus, Wars, Bk vn. oc. 10, 11. Of, Renan, U Antichrist, p. 539 ; 
id., Lea Svangilea, p. 369. 

6 Post-Christian Gnostics [OH. 

since the conquests of Alexander 1 . They found, too, both, in 
the Orphic poems and in the mixed religions like that of the 
Alexandrian divinities which had sprung from the doctrines 
taught by these poems, the legend of a god dying and rising 
again for the salvation of mankind told in a way which had 
many analogies with the Gospel narratives of the Passion and 
Resurrection of Jesus 2 . Among the Essenes, too, who may have 
owed, as has been said above, some of their doctrines to Orphic 
inspiration, they found all the modest virtues of sobriety, 
chastity, and mutual help which had already distinguished the 
Christian Church above all the other religious associations of 
the time. And among both the Orphics and the Essenes was 
to be noticed the strained and fanciful system of interpretation 
by allegory and figure which enabled them to put their own 
construction upon the words not only of the books of the Jewish 
Canon, but of those writings which had begun to circulate 
among the scattered Christian communities as containing the 
authentic teaching of Jesus and His immediate disciples 8 . Add 
to this that the Simonians, and no doubt other pre-Christian 
Gnostic sects of which we have lost all trace, had already shown 
the mixed populations of the Levant how to reconcile the 
innovations of a teacher of impressive and commanding 
personality with their own ancestral traditions 4 , and that the 
many mysteries then diffused throughout the ancient world 

1 Abel's Orphica, Frgs. 243-248, especially the quotation from Nigidius. 

2 See Chapter II, supra. 

3 So Eenan, IS Antichrist, p. 300, says that the Synoptic Gospels 
probably first took shape in the Church at Pella. Thus he explains the 
so-called " little Apocalypse " of Matthew xxiv., Mark xiii, and Luke xxi 
Of. ibid., p. 296 and note. For the symbolic construction placed upon 
them by the Gnostics, see Hatch, H. L., p. 75. 

4 Hegesippus, who probably wrote about 150 A.D., speaks of Thebuthia, 
Dositheus, and others as leaders of early sects. Eusebius, Hist fled. Bk iv. 
c. 22, and Origen (cont. Cds* Bk vi, c. 11) make this last a contemporary 
of Simon Magus. The Clementine Homilies (Bk u. o. 24), from whom both 
authors may have derived their information, have a long story about 
Dositheus being with Simon a follower of John the Baptist, and disputing 
with Simon the headship of the sect. BVom presumably other sources, 
Hegesippus speaks of the Essenes, the Masbothoeanfl and the Hemero- 
baptists, for which last see Chapter SHI, infra, aa pre-Qxristian sects. 

vn] Post-Christian Gnostics 7 

offered a ready means of propagating new doctrines under 
cover of secrecy ; and it will be seen that most of the sources 
from which the founders of the great post-Christian sects 
afterwards drew their systems were then lying open and ready 
to hand. 

The prize which awaited success was, moreover, no mean one. 
It is sometimes said that the only distinction that awaited a 
leader of the Church at this time was the distinction of being 
burned alive 1 . Yet the fear of impeachment to be followed by 
a still more horrible death never prevented English statesmen 
in the xvnth century from struggling with each other for place 
and power ; while the State had not as yet made any serious 
attempt to suppress the propagation of Christianity by force. 
On the other hand, a Christian bishop, even at this early date, 
occupied a position which was really superior to that of most 
functionaries of the secular State. Gifted with almost complete 
power over his flock in temporal as well as in spiritual matters, 
he was at once their judge and their adviser ; and, so long as 
there were Pagan emperors on the throne, the faithful were 
forbidden to come to any tribunal but his 2 . His judgments, 
too, had a greater sanction than those of any temporal judge ; 
for while he could not indeed lawfully condemn any of his 
hearers to death, he had in the sentence of excommunication 
which he alone could pronounce, the power of cutting them off 
from eternal life. The adoration with which he was regarded 
by them also surpassed the respect paid to proconsul or legate 3 ; 
and the literature of the time is full of allusions to the way in 
which, when brought before the temporal rulers, he was attended 

1 Winwood Reade, op. cit. p. 244. Probably this is what is meant by 
Gibbon when he says (Decline and Fall, Bury's ed. m. p. 153, n. 54) that 
no future bishop of Avila is likely to imitate Priscillian by turning heretic, 
because the income of the see is 20,000 ducats a year. 

2 Apostolical Constitutions, Bk n. cc. 45, 46, 47. Harnack, Expansion 
of Christianity, Eng. ed. n. p. 98 n. 1, gives the date of this work as 
" middle of the 2nd century. '* Duchesne, op. tit. p. 109, thinks it is 
derived from the Didache vhich he puts not later than Trajan. 

8 Apost. Const. Bk n. c, 26 : " Ho (i.e. the bishop) is your ruler and 
governor ; he is your king and potentate ; he is next after God, your 
earthly divinity, who has a right to be honoured by you." 

8 Post-Christian Gnostics [OH. 

by weeping multitudes who crowded round him even in prison, 
imploring his blessing and kissing his fetters 1 . Hence it is not 
to be wondered at that such a position was eagerly sought after, 
that envy of the episcopate was the principal sin against which 
the Christian writers of the sub-Apostolic age warned their 
readers 2 , and that it is to the disappointment at failing to 
attain the highest places in the orthodox Church that they 
ascribe the foundation of all the principal post-Christian sects 3 . 
Without taking this accusation as literally correct, it is plain 
that the chance of irresponsible power over those whom 
they could convince must have proved a most alluring bait to 
religious-minded persons who were also ambitious and intel- 
lectual men of the world 4 . 

Thus it came about that during the und and mrd centuries, 
there arose more than one teacher who set himself to construct 
a system which should enable its votaries to retain the Hellenistic 
culture which Alexander's conquests had spread throughout the 
whole civilized world with the religious and moral ideas which 
the enthusiasm and energy of the first Christians had begun 
to diffuse among the lower classes of citizens 5 . Alexandria, 
the natural meeting-place between the East and West, was no 

1 Lucian, Proteus Peregrinus, passim ; Acts of Paul and Thekla ; Acts of 
Peter of Alexandria. 

2 Clement of Rome, First Epistle to the Corinthians, o. 44. 

3 So Irenaeus, op. til. Bk i. c. 26, pp. 219, 220, Harvey, says it was the 
desire to become a dt8d<TKa\os or teacher that drove Tatian, once a 
hearer of Justin Martyr's, into heresy. Hegasippus, %bi ciL mpra> says 
that Thebuthis first corrupted the Church, on account of his not being 
made a bishop. For the same accusation in the oases of Valentinus and 
Marcion, see Chapters IX and XI, infra. 

4 Celsus apua Origen (op. cit. Bk ni. cc. 10, 13) says : *' Christians at 
first were few in number, and all held like opinions, but when they increased 
to a great multitude, they were divided and separated, each wishing to 
have his own individual party ; for this was their object from the begin- 
ning " a contention which Origen rebuts. 

6 Thus in Egypt it was almost exclusively the lower classes which 
embraced Christianity at the outset. See Amelineau, " Les Aotes Ooptea 
du martyre de St Polycarpe" in P.S.B.A* vol. x. (1888), p, 39S5, Julian 
(Oyr. TI. p. 206) says that under Tiberius and Claudius thr were no 
converts of rank. 

vn] Post-Christian Gnostics 9 

doubt the scene of the first of these attempts, and the writings 
of Philo, fortunately still extant, had already shown the way 
in which the allegorical system of interpretation could be used 
to this end. That many of the founders of post-Christian 
Gnostic sects were Alexandrian Jews is the constant tradition 
of the Christian Church, and is antecedently probable enough 1 . 
But other Gnostic leaders were certainly not Alexandrians and 
came from centres sufficiently distant from Egypt to show that 
the phenomenon was very widely spread, and that the same 
causes produced the same results in the most distant places and 
entirely outside the Jewish community. Marcion, the founder 
of the Marcionite Church, was a native of Pontus. Saturnilus 
or Saturninus the name is spelt differently by Irenaeus and 
Hippolytus came from Antioch, Theodotus from Byzantium, 
others, such as Cerdo, and probably Prepon the Syrian, began 
teaching in Rome, while we hear of a certain Monoimus, who 
is said to have been an Arab 2 . Most of these are to us merely 
names, only very brief summaries of the different systems 
founded or professed by them having been preserved in the 
heresiologies compiled by the Fathers of the Church both before 
and immediately after the alliance of the Christian Church with 
the Roman State under Constantine. 

1 Thus Cerinthus, who is made by tradition the opponent of St John, 
is paid to have been a Jew and to have been trained in the doctrines of 
Philo at Alexandria (Theodoret, Haer. Fab. Bk n. 3). Cf. Neander, 
Ch. Hist. (Eng. ed.) vol. n. pp. 42-47. Neander says the same thing about 
Basilides (op. cit. p. 47 and note) and Valentinus (p. 71), although it is 
difficult to discover any authority for the statement other than the Jewish 
features in their doctrines. There is more evidence for the statement 
regarding Marcus, the heresiarch and magician whom Irenaeus (op. cit. 
Bk I. c. 7) accuses of the seduction of Christian women, apparently in his 
own time, since the words of Marcus' ritual, which the Bishop of Lyons 
quotes, are in much corrupted Hebrew, and the Jewish Cabala was used by 
him. Kenan's view (Marc Awtte, pp. 139 sqq.) that Christianity in Egypt 
never passed through the Judaeo-Christian stage may in part account for 
the desire of Jewish converts there to set up schools of their own. 

2 For Marcion, see Chapter XI, infra. Summary accounts of the 
doctrines of other Gnostics mentioned are given by Irenaeus and Hippolytus 
in the works quoted. See also the Diet, of Christian Biog., under their 
respective names. 

10 Post-Christian Gnostics [OH 

Of these treatises, the two, which, up to about sixty years 
ago, formed our main sources of information with regard to 
the Gnostics of the sub-Apostolic age 1 , are the writings of 
St Irenaeus, Bishop of Lyons about the year 177 A.r>., and of 
Epiphanius, Bishop of Constantia in Cyprus, who tells us he wrote 
in the seventh year of G-ratian or 374 A.D. The first of these is 
considerably later in date than the heresiarchs in refutation of 
whose doctrines he wrote his five books "against Heresies" ; 
and although he is most probably honest in his account of their 
tenets, it is evident that Irenaeus was incapable of distinguishing 
between the opinions of the founders of the sects which he 
controverts and those of their followers and successors. Epi- 
phanius, on the other hand, wrote when the Catholic Church 
was already triumphant, and his principal object seems to have 
been to blacken the memory of those competitors whom she 
had already outdistanced in the race for popularity and power. 
Hence he spares no pains to rake together every story which 
theological hatred and unclean imagination had ever invented 
against her opponents and rivals ; while his contempt for con- 
sistency and the rules of evidence show the intellectual depths to 
which the war which orthodox Christianity had from the first 
waged against Hellenistic culture had reduced the learning of the 
age. The language in which he and the other Catholic writers 
on heresy describe the Gnostics is, indeed, the first and most 
salient instance of that intolerance for any other opinions than 
their own, which a recent writer of great authority declares 
the Apostles and their successors derived from their Jewish 
nationality 2 . " The first-born of Satan," " seducers of women," 
" savage beasts," " scorpions," " ravening wolves," * demo- 
niacs," c sorcerers," and " atheists " were the mildest terms in 

1 The lesser heresiologists, such as Philaster of Brescia, St Augustine, 
the writer who is known as Praedestinatus, the author of the tract Adver#u$ 
omnes Haereses wrongly ascribed to Tertullian, and the other writers in- 
cluded in the first volume of Oehler's Corpus Haereseologici, Berlin, 1856> 
as well as writers like Eusebius, all copy from one or other of these sources* 
The JSxGtrpta T'k&odoti appended to the works of Clement of Alexandria 
are on a different footing, but their effect at the time spoken of in the text 
was not appreciated. Of. Salmon in Diet. Christian Biog* a.v, Valentinus. 
,Z'/wto^wc^ 140* 

vn] Post-Christian Gnostics 11 

which Epiphanius and his fellow heresiologists can bring 
themselves to seak of the sectaries. They afford ample jus- 
tification for the remark of the philosophic Emperor Julian 
that " no wild beasts are so hostile to men as Christian sects in 
general are to one another 1 ." 

From this lack of trustworthy evidence, the discovery in 
1842 at a convent on Mt Athos of eight out of the ten books 
of the Philosoyhumena now generally attributed to Hippolytus, 
Bishop of " Portus Eomana " in 230 A.D. 2 , seemed likely to 
deliver us. The work thus recovered bore the title of the 
Refutation of all Heresies, and did succeed in giving us a fairly 
clear and coherent account of some twenty Gnostic sects, the 
very existence of many of which was previously unknown to 
us. Moreover, it went a good way beyond its predecessors in 
pointing out that the real origin of all the heretical sects then 
existing "was to be found, not so much in the diabolic inspiration 
which other writers thought sufficient to account for it, as in 
the Pythagorean, Platonic, and other philosophies then in vogue, 
together with the practice of astrology and magic rites which 
had come to form an important part of all the Pagan religions 
then popular. It also showed a very extensive and apparently 
first-hand acquaintance with the works of the Gnostic leaders, 
and the lengthy quotations which it gives from their writings 
enable us to form a better idea than we had before been able 
to do both of what the Gnostic tenets really were and of the 
arguments by which they were propagated. Unfortunately the 
text of the Philosophumena has not been able to withstand 
the assaults of those textual critics who have already reduced 
the Book of Genesis to a patchwork of several authors writing at 
widely separate times and places, and writers like Dr Salmon 
and Prof, Stahelin have laboured to show that the author of 
the Phiksophumena was taken in by a forger who had himself 
concocted all the documents which Hippolytus quotes as being 

1 Ammianus Maxcellinus, Bk xxn. c. 5, 4. 

3 An excellent and concise account of the discovery and the subsequent 
controversy as to the authorship of the book is given Toy Salmon in the 
Diet. Christian Biog. s*v. Hrppolytus Romanus. For Mgr Duchesne's theory 
that Hippolytus was a schismatic Pope, see his Hist. Christian Church, 
pp, 227-233. 

12 Post-Christian Gnostics [OH. 

the work of different heresiarchs 1 . Their conclusions, although 
they do not seem to put the matter entirely beyond doubt, 
have been accepted by many theological writers, especially in 
Germany, and in the course of the discussion the fact has 
emerged that the documents quoted can hardly go back to an 
earlier date than the year 200 A.D. 2 It is therefore unlikely that 
Hippolytus had before him the actual words of the heresiarchs 
whom he is endeavouring to refute ; and if the Philosophumena 
were all we had to depend upon, we might despair of knowing 
what c the great Gnostics of Hadrian's time " really taught. 

The reason for this paucity of documents is also plain 
enough. " The antidote to the scorpion's bite," to use a patristic 
figure of speech 3 , was felt by the early Church to be the actual 
cautery, and its leaders spared no pains to rout out and burn 
the writings of the heretics pending the time when they could 
apply the same treatment to their authors. Even before their 
alliance with Constantine had put the resources of the State 
at their disposal, they had contrived to use the secular arm 
for this purpose. In several persecutions, notably that of 
Diocletian, which was probably the most severe of them all, 
the Christian scriptures were particularly sought for by the 
Inquisitors of the State, and many of the orthodox boasted that 
they had arranged that the police should find the writings of 
the heretics in their stead 4 . Later, when it came to the turn 
of the Christians to dictate imperial edicts, the possession of 
heretical writings was made punishable with severe penalties 5 . 

1 Salmon's position is set out by him in Hermathena, Dublin, 1885, 
pp. 389 4gq. For Stahelin's, see his tractate Die Onostische Quellm flip* 
polyte, Leipzig, 1890, in Harnack's Texte und Unter&uch/mgen. Both are 
skilfully summarized by de Faye in his Introduction & I'Stude du Cfnotiicisme, 
Paris, 1903, pp. 25 sgq. 

2 I>e Faye does not accept Stahelin's contention as to the forgery, but 
his conclusion as to the date is as stated in the text. See Introduction, to* 
pp. 68, 71. 

8 Tertullian, Scorpiace, c. 1. 

* Neander, Oh. Hist. (Eng. ed.), i. p. 208, quotes a case from St Augustine 
which I have not heen able to verify. 

5 Gibbon, Decline, and Fatt, XL p. 110 and not 144 (Bury's dL)* ^or 
the search which the Christian emperors directed to b mad for the 
heretics' books, see Eusebius, Vita Qonstantini, Bk m. cc. 64, 0$. 

vn] Post-Christian Gnostics 13 

Between orthodox Christian and Pagan it is a wonder that 
any have survived to us. 

A lucky chance, however, has prevented us from being 
entirely ignorant of what the Gnostics had to say for themselves. 
In 1851, a MS. which had been known to be in the British 
Museum since 1778, was published with a translation into a 
curious mixture of Latin and Greek by the learned Petermann, 
and turned out to include a sort of Gospel coming from some 
early Gnostic sect 1 . From a note made on it by a writer who 
seems to have been nearly contemporary with its scribes, it is 
known as Pistis Sophia or " Faith-Wisdom " ; and the same MS. 
also contains fragments of other works coming from a cognate 
source. In 1891, a papyrus in the Bodleian Library at Oxford, 
which had been brought into this country in 1769 by the 
traveller Bruce, was also published with a French translation 
by M. Am61ineau, an ex- Abbe who has long made the later 
Egyptian language his peculiar study, and proved to contain 
two documents connected with the system disclosed in the 
Pistis Sophia 2 . Both MSS. are in Coptic of the dialect of the 
Sahid or Upper Egypt, to which fact they probably owe their 
escape from the notice of the Byzantine Inquisitors ; and they 
purport to contain revelations as to the next world and the 
means of attaining salvation therein made by Jesus on His 
return to earth after the Resurrection. Although these several 
documents were evidently not all written at one time and place, 
and cannot be assigned to a single author, the notes and 

1 The actual transcription and translation were made by Maurice 
Schwartze, a young German who was sent over here to study the documents 
in the British Museum at the expense of the King of Prussia, He died after 
the completion of his task, and before the book could be printed. 

2 Am61ineau's transcription and translation appeared in the Notices 
et Extmita, etc. of the Acad6mie des Inscriptions, t. xxix. pt 2 (Paris, 1891). 
He has also published a translation into French without text of the Pistis 
SopMa (Paris, 1895). Dr Carl Schmidt, of the University of Berlin, has 
published translations into German of both works under the title Koptisch- 
Qnostitclie SMfien* Bd i., Leipzig, 1905. None of these versions are 
entirely satisfactory, and it is much to be wished that an authoritative 
edition of the two works could be put forward by English scholars. The 
present writer gave a short history and analysis of them in the Scottish 
Review for 1893 under the title " Some Heretic Gospels." 

14 Post-Christian Gnostics [on. 

emendations appearing on the MSS. show that most of them 
must have been in the possession of members of the same school 
as their composers ; and that therefore we have here for the 
first time direct and authentic evidence of the Gnostic tenets, 
as put forward by their adherents instead of by their opponents. 
The collation of these documents with the excerpts from 
other Gnostic writings appearing in early writers like Clement 
of Alexandria who were not professed heresiologists 1 , shows that 
the post-Christian Gnostic sects had more opinions in common 
than would be gathered from the statements of St Irenaeus, 
Hippolytus, and Epiphanius, and that they probably fulfilled 
a real want of the age 2 . All of them seem to have held that 
there was one Supreme Being, the source of all good, and that 
matter was inherently malignant and opposed to him. All 
of them, too, seem to have taught the perfectibility of man's 
nature, the salvation of at any rate the majority of mankind, 
and the possibility of their rising in the scale of being ; and all 
of them held that this was to be effected mainly by means 
of certain mysteries or sacramental rites which were assumed 
to have a magical efficacy. All these fundamental character- 
istics find their origin in the beliefs of the pre-Christian religions 
and religious associations described above, and doubtless owed 
much to their influence. But with these, there was now 
combined for the first time the recognition of the divinity of 
One who, while appearing upon earth as a man among men, 

1 Clement was so far from being a heresiologist that he has not escaped 
the reproach of being himself a heretic. He repeatedly speaks in prais of 
the " true Gnostic," meaning thereby the perfect Christian, and although 
this is probably a mere matter of words, it seems to have induced Photitxs 
in the ixth century to examine his writings with a jealous eye. The result 
was that, as M. Courdaveaux points out (R.H.R. 1892, p. 293 and note), 
he found him guilty of teaching that matter was eternal, the Son a simple 
creature of the Father, the Incarnation only an appearance, that man's soul 
entered several bodies in succession, and that several worlds were created 
before that of Adam. All these are Gnostic opinions, and it may be that if 
we had all Clement's books in our hands, as had Photius, we might confirm 
M. Courdaveaux's judgment, as does apparently Mgr Duchesne* Of. Ms 
Hist, of Christian Ch. pp, 244, 245. 

2 Cf . A. C. MoGiffert, Prolegomena to the Church History of MtttMtw 
(Schaff and Wace's Nioene Library), Oxford, 1890, voL r. p. 179 and note. 

vn] Post-Christian Gnostics 15 

was yet thought by all to be endowed with a greater share of 
the Divine nature than they. Orpheus, Moses, Homer, and the 
Jewish prophets had in turn been claimed as religious teachers 
who were divinely inspired ; but Jesus was asserted by every 
later G-nostic school of whose teachings we have any evidence 
to have been Himself of higher essence and substance than the 
rest of mankind 1 . How far this assertion was dictated by the 
necessity for finding a superhuman authority for the revelation 
which each Gnostic leader professed to make to his disciples may 
be open to question ; but in view of some contemporary contro- 
versies it is well to draw attention to the fact that the Divinity 
in some shape or other of Jesus, as well as what is now called His 
" historicity," was never for a moment called in question during 
the first three centuries by Gnostic or Catholic. Movoyevrjs 
or Monogenes z & word which Catholic writers later confused 
with MovoyewyTos or " only-begotten," but which is best repre- 
sented by the corresponding Latin expression unicus or "unique" 
(i.e. one of a kind) is the word in which the Gnostics summed 
up their conceptions of the nature of Jesus 3 . 

This belief, however, led to consequences which do not at 
first sight seem to follow from it. The gods of classical antiquity 
were indeed supposed to be of like passions with ourselves, and 
the Greek of Homer's time never thought it shame to attribute 
to them jealousy or lust or fear or vanity or any other of the 
weaknesses which afflict us 4 . But the one feature besides their 
beauty that distinguished the Greek gods from humanity was 

1 Of the heresies mentioned in the Philosophumena only two, viz. 
that of Simon Magus and that of those whom Hippolytus calls the Sethiani, 
do not admit, either expressly or by implication, the divinity of Jesus. 
This may be accounted for by what has been said above as to both being 
pre-Christian in origin. 

2 E.g. Ecenaeus, op. cit. Bk I. o. l y I. p. 9, Harvey. Here he is called 
ofioios T Kal to-o? To> 7rpo/3aXdvri, " like and equal to him who had sent hi 
forth." There is certainly here no allusion to " begetting " in the ordinary 
sense of the word. 

3 As in the epithet of Persephone in the Orphic Hymn quoted above. 
See Chapter IV y &wpra+ The unanimity with which all post-Christian 
Gnostics accepted the superhuman nature of Jesus seems to have struck 
Hamack. See his What is Christianity ? Eng. ed. 1904, pp. 209, 210. 

4 Iliad I. 11. 560 sqq. ; rv. U. 57, 330 ; XIV. 1L 320 sqq. 

16 Post-Christian Gnostics [OH. 

their immortality or freedom from death ; and if demigods like 
Heracles were said to have gone through the common experience 
of mortals, this was held as proof that their apotheosis or 
deification did not take place until they had left the earth 1 . 
So much was this the case that the Greeks are said to have 
been much amused when they first beheld the Egyptians wailing 
for the death of Osiris, declaring that if he were a god he could 
not be dead, while if he were not, his death was not to be 
lamented 2 ; and Plutarch, when repeating the story to his 
countrymen, thought it necessary to explain that in his view 
the protagonists in the Osiris and Set legend were neither gods 
nor men, but " great powers " or daemons not yet deified and 
in the meantime occupying a place between the two 8 . The 
same difficulty was, perhaps, less felt by the other Mediterranean 
peoples, among whom, as we have seen, the idea of a god who 
died and rose again was familiar enough 4 ; but the Gnostic 
leaders must always have had before their eyes the necessity 
of making Christianity acceptable to persons in possession of 
that Hellenistic culture which then dominated the world, and 
which still forms the root of all modern civilization. How, 
then, were they to account for the fact that their God Jesus, 
whether they considered Him as the Logos or Word of Philo, 
or the Monogenes or Unique Power of the Supreme Being, had 
suffered a shameful death by sentence of the Roman procurator 
in Judaea ? 

The many different answers that they gave to this question 
showed more eloquently than anything else the difficulties with 
which it was surrounded. Simon, according to Hippolytus, 
said that Jesus only appeared on earth as a man, but was 
not really one, and seemed to have suffered in Judaea, although 
he had not really done so 6 . Basilides the Egyptian, the leader 

1 Odyssey XI. 11. 600 sqq. ; Plutarch, Life of Pelopidas, c, rvi. 

2 Plutarch, de Is. et Os. c. LXXI. 

3 Ibid. cc. xxv., xxvn., xxx. 

4 Probably this was one of the reasons why the Mysteries which 
showed the death of a god had ia Greece to be celebrated in secret. See 
Diodorus' remark (Bk v. c. 77, 3) that the things which the Greeks only 
handed down in secret were by the Cretans concealed from no one. 

* Hippolytus, o$. tit. Bk VI, c. 19, p. 265, Oruioe. 

vn] Post- Christian Gnostics 17 

of another sect, held, according to Irenaeus, that the body of 
Jesus was a phantasm and had no real existence, Simon of 
Gyrene having been crucified in his stead 1 ; while Hippolytus, 
who seems to have drawn his account of Basilides' teaching 
from a different source from that used by his predecessor, 
makes him say that only the body of Jesus suffered and relapsed 
into " formlessness 2 /' but that His soul returned into the 
different worlds whence it was drawn. Saturninus, another 
heresiarch, held, according to both authors, to the phantasmal 
theory of Jesus' body, which attained such popularity among 
other Gnostic sects that " Docetism," as the opinion was called, 
came to be looked upon by later writers as one of the marks 
of heresy 3 , and Hippolytus imagines that there were in existence 
sects who attached such importance to this point that they 
called themselves simply Docetics 4 . Valentinus, from whose 
teaching, as we shall see, the principal system of the Pistis 
Sophia was probably derived, also adhered to this Docetic 
theory, and said that the body of Jesus was not made of human 
flesh, but was constructed " with unspeakable art " so as to 
resemble it, the dove-like form which had descended into it 
at His baptism leaving it before the Crucifixion 5 . According 
to Irenaeus, too, Valentinus held that the Passion of Jesus was 
not intended as an atonement or sacrifice for sin, as the Catholics 
taught, but merely as a symbol or reflection of something that 
was taking place in the bosom of the Godhead 6 . 

Another point in which the chief post-Ckristian Gnostic sects 
seem to have resembled one another is the secrecy with which 
their teachings were surrounded. Following strictly the practice 
of the various mysteries the Eleusinian, the Isiac, Cabiric, and 
others in which the Mediterranean god, whether called Diony- 
sos, Osiris, Attis, Adonis, or by any other name, was worshipped, 
none were admitted to a knowledge of their doctrines without 

1 Irenaeus, op. tit. Bk I. c. 19, n. p. 200, Harvey. 

2 apopfya. Hippolytus, op. tit Bk vn. c. 27, p. 366, Cruice. 

3 Irenaeus, op. tit. Bk I. c. 18, p. 197, Harvey. Hippolytus, op. tit. 
Bk VH. o. 28, p. 368, Ouice. 

* Hippolytus, op. tit. Bk vm. c. 8. 

5 Irenaeus, op. tit. Bk I. c. 1, 13, pp. cxli and 61, Harvey. 
Ibi,d. Bk I. c. 1, 31, pp. cxli and 62, Harvey. 
IK rr. 2 

18 Post-Christian Gnostics [OH. 

undergoing a long, arduous, and expensive course of initiation. 
More than one Gnostic teacher is said to have told his hearers 
to conceal from men what they were, or in other words not to 
let it be known that they were affiliated to the sect 1 , and all 
the Fathers bear witness to the way in which in time of persecu- 
tion the Gnostics escaped by professing any faith that would 
satisfy the Eoman authorities. By doing so, they laid them- 
selves open to the accusation hurled at them with great virulence 
by the Church, that their secret rites and doctrines were so 
filthy as to shock human nature if made public an accusation 
which at the first appearance of Christianity had been brought 
against the Catholics, and which the Church has ever since 
made use of against any sect which has differed from her, 
repeating it even at the present day against the Jews and the 
Freemasons 2 . There is, however, no reason why the accusation 
should be better founded in one case than in the others ; and 
it is plain in any event that the practice of secrecy when 
expedient followed directly from the magical ideas which have 
been shown above to be the foundation of the dogmas of 
all the pre-Christian Gnostics, besides permeating religions 
like that of the Alexandrian divinities. The willingness of the 
post-Christian Gnostics to subscribe to any public profession of 
faith that might be convenient was no doubt due to the same 
cause 3 . As has been well said, to the true Gnostic, Paganism, 
Christianity, and Mahommedanism are merely veils 4 . The 
secret words and formulas delivered, and the secret rites which 
the initiate alone knows, are all that is necessary to assure him 
a distinguished place in the next world ; and, armed with these, 

1 Irenaeus, op. cit. Bk i. c. 19, 3, p. 202, Harvey ; Hippolytus, 
op. cit. Bk rv. c. 24, p. 225, Cruice ; Tertullian, Scorpiace, c. i. 

2 For the accusation against the Christians, see Athenagoras, Apologia, 
cc. in., XXXL Justin Martyr, First ApoL a xxvi. For that against the Jews, 
Strack, Le Sang et lafausse Accusation du Meurtre Rituel, Paris, 1893. For 
that against the Freemasons, " Devil Worship and Freemasonry," Con- 
temporary Review lor 1896. 

3 See n. 1, supra. So Eusebius speaks of theSimonians receiving baptism 
and slipping into the Church without revealing their secret tenets, Hist. 
EccL Bk n. c. 1. 

4 Eevillout, Vie et Sentences de Seawulm, Paris, 1873, p. 3, n. L 

vii] Post-Christian Gnostics 19 

he can contemplate with perfect indifference all outward forms 
of worship. 

These and other points which the post-Christian Gnostic 
sects seem to have had in common 1 can therefore be accounted 
for by their common origin, without accepting the theory of 
the textual critics that the Fathers had been deceived by an 
impostor who had made one document do duty several times 
over. Yet until we have the writings of the heresiarchs actually 
in our hands, we must always be in doubt as to how far their 
opinions have been correctly recorded for us. The post- 
Christian Gnostic sects have been compared with great aptness 
to the Protestant bodies which have sprung up outside the 
Catholic Church since the German Keformation 2 , and the 
analogy in most respects seems to be perfect. Yet it would 
probably be extremely difficult for a bishop of the Church of 
Rome or of that of England to give within the compass of an 
heresiology like those quoted above an account of the tenets 
of the different sects in England and America, without making 
grave and serious mistakes in points of detail. The difficulty 
would arise from want of first-hand knowledge, in spite of the 
invention of printing having made the dissemination of informa- 
tion on such subjects a thousand times more general than in 
sub-Apostolic times, and of the fact that the modern sects, 
unlike their predecessors, do not seek to keep their doctrines 
secret. But the analogy shows us another cause of error. The 
" Free Churches," as they are called in modern parlance, have 
from the outset shown themselves above all things fissiparous, 
.and it is enough to mention the names of Luther, Zwingli, 
Calvin, Socinus, Wesley, and Chalmers to show how hopelessly 
at variance the teachings of the founders of sects at first sight 
are. But in spite of this, there seems to have been always 
.a sort of fluidity of doctrine among them, and hardly any of 

1 Am&lineam, Lt Gnostioteme figyptim, p. 75, tiros enumerates them: 
the doctrine of ema^iationy an unknown [i.e. an inaccessible and incom- 
prehensible] God, th& resemblance of the three worlds, the aeonology of 
f Simon, and a common cosm03bgy. To this may be added the inherent 
malignity of matter and the belief in salvation by knowledge. See Kruger, 
La Orcmde Enoyclop^die, s.v. Gnostioisme. 

2 Renan, Marc Awr&e, p. 114. 


20 Post-Christian Gnostics [OH. 

the Nonconformist sects now profess the dogmas with which 
they first came into existence. The changes in this respect, 
however, never involve the borrowing of new tenets from 
sources external to them all, but seem to be brought about by 
a sort of interfiltration between one sect and another. Thus, 
for example, for many centuries after the Reformation the 
majority of the dissident sects which rejected all connection 
with the Catholic Church were among the stoutest defenders 
of the Divinity of Jesus, and the Socinians who held the contrary 
opinion were in an entirely negligible minority. At the present 
day, however, the tendency seems to run the other way, and 
many Nonconformist bodies are leaning towards Unitarian 
doctrines, although few of them probably have ever heard the 
name of Socinus. A similar tendency to interpenetration of 
doctrines early showed itself among the Gnostics ; and there 
can be little doubt that it sometimes led to a fusion or amalga- 
mation between sects of widely differing origin. Hence it is 
not extraordinary that certain tenets are sometimes recorded 
by the Fathers as peculiar to one Gnostic leader and sometimes 
to another, and to trace accurately their descent, it would be 
necessary to know the exact point in the history of each sect 
at which such tenets appeared. But the Fathers seldom thought 
of distinguishing between the opinions of an heresiarch and 
those of his successors, and the literary habits of the time were 
not in favour of accurate quotation of documents or even of 
names 1 . This forms the chief difficulty in dealing with the 
history of the Gnostic teaching, and although the discovery 
of fresh documents contemporary with those we now possess 
would undoubtedly throw additional light upon the subject, 
it is probable that it will never be entirely overcome* 

1 Witness the confusion between Ennoia and Epinoia in Chapter VI > 
vol. i. p. 180, n. 4, supra, and between Saturnilus and Saturninus in this 
chapter, p. 9. So Irenaeus and others record the opinions of an associate 
of Marcus whom they call " Colarbasus" a name which modern criticism 
has shown to be a mistake for ymtf ^p Kol-arba, " The Voice of the 
Four " or the Supreme Tetrad. See Benan, Marc Awr&e, p. 129 ; Hort 
in Diet. Christian Biog. s.h.v. So Clement of Alexandria, Protre&t* c, m 
mistakes Evoe, the mystic cry of the Bacchantes, for the Eve of 

YII] Post-Christian Gnostics 21 

Generally speaking, however, Gnosticism played a most 
important part in the history of Christianity. Eenan's view 
that it was a disease which, like croup, went near to strangling 
the infant Church is often quoted 1 ; but in the long run it is 
probable that Gnosticism was on the whole favourable to her 
development. In religion, sentiment often plays a larger part 
than reason ; and any faith which would enable men of weight 
and influence to continue the religious practices in which they 
had been brought up, with at the outset but slight modification, 
was sure of wide acceptance. There seems no doubt that the 
earlier Gnostics continued to attend the mysteries of the 
Chthonian deities in Greece and of their Oriental analogues, 
Osiris, Attis, Adonis, and the like elsewhere, while professing 
to place upon what they there saw a Christian interpretation 2 . 
Here they acted like the little leaven that leaveneth the whole 
lump, and this did much to spread the knowledge of the new 
faith among those spiritually-minded Gentiles, who would never 
have felt any interest in Christianity so long as it remained 
merely a branch of Judaism 3 . Most of them, moreover, sooner 
or later abandoned their Gnosticism, and became practising 
members of the Catholic Church, who sometimes went a long 
way to meet them. As Renan has said, none of them ever 
relapsed into Paganism 4 , and in this way the so-called heresies 
became at once the feeders of orthodox Christianity and its 
richest recruiting-ground 5 . They offered in fact an easy road 
by which the wealthy, the learned, and the highly-placed could 
pass from Paganism to Christianity without suffering the 
inconvenience imposed upon the first followers of the Apostles. 

1 Renan, L'Sglise CTvr&ienne, p. 140. 

2 Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. o. 9, p. 177, Cruice. 

3 As in the case of Clement of Alexandria, who seems to have been 
initiated into most of the heathen mysteries then current. It is to be 
noted, too, that Origen, although he speaks of the Ophites as an insignifi- 
cant sect (see'Chapter VIII, infra),, yet professes to know all about their 
secret opinions. 

* Renan, Marc AwrUe, p. 139. 

8 Thus Ambrose of Milan had been before his conversion a Valentinian, 
Epiphanius a Nicolaitan. See Eusebius, H.E. Bk VL c. 18 ; Epiph. Haer. 
xxvi. o. 17, p. 198, Oehler. 

22 Post-Christian Gnostics [on. 

On the other hand, it may be argued that the Church in 
receiving such recruits lost much of that simplicity of doctrine 
and practice to which it had hitherto owed her rapid and un- 
varying success. The Gnostics brought with them into their 
new faith the use of pictures and statues, of incense, and of all 
the paraphernalia of the worship of the heathen gods. Baptism 
which, among the Jewish community in which Christianity 
was born, was an extremely simple rite, to be performed by 
anybody and entirely symbolical in its character 1 , became an 
elaborate ceremony which borrowed the name as well as many 
of the adjuncts of initiation into the Mysteries. So, too, the 
Agape (love-feast) or common meal, which in pre-Christian 
times was, as we have seen, common to all Greek religious 
associations unconnected with the State, was transformed by 
the Gnostics into a rite surrounded by the same provisions for 
secrecy and symbolizing the same kind of sacrifice as those which 
formed the central point of the mystic drama at Eleusis and 
elsewhere. Both these sacraments, as they now came to be 
called, were thought to be invested with a magical efficacy, 
and. to demand for their proper celebration a priesthood as 
exclusive as, and a great deal more ambitious than, that of 
Eleusis or Alexandria. The daring speculations of the Gnostics 
as to the nature of the godhead and the origin of the world 
also forced upon the Catholics the necessity of formulating her 
views on these points and making adhesion to them a test of 
membership 2 . To do so was possibly to choose the smaller 
of two evils, yet it can hardly be denied that the result of the 
differences of opinion thus aroused was to deluge the world 

1 It could be even self-administered, as in the Acts of Paul and 
where Thekla baptizes herself in the arena. See Tischendorf s text. The 
Clementine Homilies (Bk xiv. o. 1) show that it could b immediately 
followed by the Eucharist without any intermediate rite or preparation. 
Contrast with this the elaborate ceremonies described by Cyril of Jeru- 
salem, where the white-robed band of converts after a long catochumenate, 
including fasting and the communication of secret doctrines and passwords, 
approach on Easter Eve the doors of the church where the lights turned 
darkness into day. See Hatch, H. L. pp. 297, 299. 

2 Duchesne, Hist. Qtwistian Ch. p. 32 ; Harnack, What is Christianity t 
Eng. ed. p. 210. 

vn] Post-Christian Gnostics 23 

with, blood and to stay the progress of human knowledge for 
more than a thousand years 1 . It is said that if Gnosticism 
had not been forcibly suppressed, as it was directly the Christian 
priesthood obtained a share in the government of the State, 
Christianity would have been nothing but a battle-ground for 
warring sects, and must have perished from its own internal 
dissensions. It may be so ; but it is at least as possible that, 
if left unmolested, many of the wilder sects would soon have 
withered away from their own absurdity, and that none of the 
others would have been able to endure for long. In this respect 
also, the history of the post-Reformation sects offers an in- 
teresting parallel. 

Be that as it may, it is plain that the Catholic Church, in 
devoting her energies to the suppression of the Gnostic heresies, 
lost much of the missionary power which till then had seemed 
all-conquering. During the two centuries w hich elapsed b etween 
tlia-siegerof- Jerusalem under Vespasian and the accession of 
Aurelian, the Church had raised herself from the position of a 
tiny Jewish sect to that of the foremost among the many 
religions of the Roman Empire. A brief but bloody persecution 
under Diocletian convinced the still Pagan Emperors of the 
impossibility of suppressing Christianity by force, and the 
alliance which they were thus driven to conclude with it enabled 
the Church to use successfully against the Gnostics the arm 
which had proved powerless against the Catholics 2 . Yet the 

1 As Hatch, H. L. pp. 274-279, has pointed out, the term 

which led to so much shedding of Christian blood, first occurs among the 
post-Christian Gnostics, and led in turn to most of the wranglings about 
" substance," " person," and the other metaphysical distinctions and their 
result in " strife and murder, the devastation of fair fields, the flame of 
fire and sword " (ibid. p. 279). For the possibilities of Greek science, had 
it not been opposed by the Church, see ibid. p. 26. 

2 See the edict of Constantine, which Eusebius (Vit. Constantini, cc. 
LXIV., LXV.) quotes with unholy glee, prohibiting the Gnostics from pre- 
suming to assemble together either publicly or privately, and commanding 
that their "houses of prayer" should be confiscated and handed over to the 
Catholic Church. Eusebius (ibid. c. LXVI.) says that the result of this was 
that the " savage beasts crept secretly into the Church," and continued to 
disseminate their doctrines by stealth. Perhaps such a result was to be 

24 Post-Christian Gnostics [OH. vn 

triumph was a costly one, and was in its turn followed by a 
schism which rent the Church in twain more effectually than 
the Gnostic speculations could ever have done. In the West, 
indeed, the Latin Church was able to convert the barbarians 
who extinguished the Western half of the Roman Empire ; but 
in the East, Christianity had to give way to a younger and more 
ardent faith. How far this was due to the means taken by the 
Church to suppress Gnosticism must still be a matter of specula- 
tion, but it is certain that after her first triumph over heresy 
she gained no more great victories. 



ALTHOUGH the Ophites were one of the most widely-spread 
and in some respects the most interesting of the heretical sects 
which came to ligh after the foundation of the Christian 
Church, we know Nothing at first hand about their origin. 
Philastrius, or Philaster of Brescia, writing about 380 A.D., 
among those " who taught heresies before the 
of Christ 1 " ; but the phrase does not perhaps bear 
itSppf>areiit meaning, and the late date at which he wrote 
m'fii/fees it unlikely that he possessed any exclusive evidence on 
the point. A more plausible tradition, which is common to 
St Augustine 2 , to the tractate Against All Heresies which passes 
under the name of Tertullian 3 , and to the similar one attributed 
to St Jerome 4 , is that the Ophites derived their doctrines from 
Mcolaus or Nicolas of Antioch, the deacon mentioned in the 
Acts 5 , and that they are therefore alluded to under the name 
of Nicolaitans 6 in the address to the Church of Ephesus in the 
Canonical Apocalypse. Origen, on the other hand, in his 
Discourse against Celsus says that they boasted of one Euphrates 

1 " Eorum qui ante adventum Christ! Haereseos arguuntur." Philas- 
trius, Ep. Brixiensis, de Haeresibus Liber, c. i. voL I. p. 5, Oehler. 

2 Augustinus, de Haeresibus (of. ad Quod vult deum) Liber, c. xvn. I. p. 
200, Oehler. 

8 Pseudo-Tertullianus, Adversus omnes Haereses, cc. v., vi. p. 273, 
Oehler. The writer was probably Victorirms of Pettau. 

* Pseudo-Hieronymus, Indicidus de Haeresibv^, c. m., vol. i. p. 285, 

6 Acts vi. 5. It will be noted that Epiphanius, who himself belonged 
to the sect in his youth, interposes only the Basilidians between them and 
the followers of Saturninus, the " heresy " of which last he derives directly 
from that of Simon Magus. 

6 Rev. ii 6, 15. 

26 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

as their founder 1 ; while Hippolytus declares that their tenets 
were said by themselves to be due to " the very numerous 
discourses which were handed down by James the brother of 
the Lord to Mariamne 2 ." From which contradictory state- 
ments we may gather that the " heresy " of the Ophites was, 
even as early as 230 A.D., a very old one, which may have 
appeared even before Christianity began to show its power, 
and that it was probably born in Asia Minor and owed much 
to the Pagan religions there practised and little or nothing 
to any dominant personality as did the systems of Simon Magus 
and the heresies treated of in the succeeding chapters. 

It is also probable that between the time when the Canonical 
Apocalypse was written and that of Origen and Hippolytus 3 , 
the Ophites altered their doctrines more than once. We may 
not be able to go so far as their historian, Father Giraud, who 
thinks that he can distinguish between their earlier opinions, 
which he would attribute to the Naassenes or Ophites 4 described 
by Hippolytus, and those of a later school to which he would 
assign the name of Ophites specially 5 . Yet many of the 

1 Origen, cont. Celsum, Bk vi. o. 28. Possibly the Euphrates called 
" the Peratic " or Mede by Hippolytus (op. cit. Bk iv. c. 2, p. 54, Cruice). 

2 Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. c. 7, p. 141, Cruioe. This Mariatnne is 
doubtless the sister of Philip mentioned in the Apocryphal Ada Philippi 
(c. xxxn., Tischendorf ), which have, as is said later, a strong Gnostic or 
Manichaean tinge. Celsus knew a sect which took its name from her., See 
Origen, cont. Cels. Bk v. c. 62. 

3 The Canonical Apocalypse is not earlier than 70 A. D., and was prob- 
ably written soon after the fall of the Temple of Jerusalem, Hippoly tua 
and Origen wrote 130 years later. 

* Naassene is evidently derived from the Hebrew or Aramaean CTO 
" Serpent," cf. Hipp. op. cit. Bk v. c. 6, p. 139, Cruice, and exactly corre- 
sponds to the Greek o<j>lrris and the Latin serpentinus (Low Latin $erpen~ 
tarius). " Worshipper of the Serpent " seems to be the patristic gloss on 
the meaning of the word. 

5 Giraud, OpUtae, c. 4, 65, p. 89. The question really depends upon 
Hippolytus' sources, as to which see last chapter, pp. 11, 12. Cf. De Faye, 
Introduction, etc., p. 41. Hippolytus' Naassene author cannot be much 
earlier than 170 A.D. since he quotes from St John's Gospel, and probably 
later than, the work of Irenaeus written in 180-185. Yet the Ophite system 
described by Irenaeus is evidently not a primitive one and has been added 
to by his Latin translator. See n. 3, p. 47, infra. 

vni] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 27 

Fathers confuse their doctrines with those of the Sethians, 
the Cainites, and other sects which seem to have had some 
distinguishing features 1 ; while Hippolytus, who shows a more 
critical spirit than the other heresiologists, says expressly that 
the other heresies just named were little different in appearance 
from this one,being united by the same spirit of error 2 . The con- 
fusion is further increased by his statement that the Naassenes 
called themselves Gnostics, although Carpocrates' followers, who 
must have been later in time, are elsewhere said to be the first 
to adopt this name 3 . For there was at least one other sect 
of heretics who did the same thing, and to whom Epiphanius 
in his Panarion attributes, together with a theological and 
cosmological system not unlike that hereafter described, 
mysteries of unnameable obscenity with which the Ophites 
were never charged 4 . In this respect it may be as well to 
remember the words of Tertullian that the heretics 

" know no respect even for their own leaders. Hence it is that 
schisms seldom happen among heretics because, even when they 
exist, they do not appear ; for their very unity is schism. I am 
greatly in error," he continues, " if they do not amongst themselves 
even diverge from their own rules, since every man, as it suits his 
own temper, modifies the traditions he has received after the same 
fashion as did he who handed them down to him, when he moulded 
them according to his own free will.... What was allowed to 
Valentinus is allowable to tie Valentinians, and that is lawful for 
the Marcionites which Marcion did, i.e. to innovate on the faith 

1 Trenaeus, Bk I. c. 27, 1, p. 226, Harvey, says that the Ophites are the 
same as the Sethians ; Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. c. 11, p. 184, Cmice, that 
they are connected with the Peratae, the Sethians, and the system of 
Justiiras. Epiphanius, Haer. xxxvn. c. 1, p. 494, Oehler, while deriving 
them from Mcolaus the Deacon, gives them a common origin with those 
whom he calls Gnostics simply, and identifies these last with the Borboriani, 
Coddiani, Stratiotici, Phibionitae, Zacchaei, and Barbelitae (see Haer. xxvi. 
c. 3). 

2 Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. c. 11, p. 184, Cruice. 

3 eWovs yvGHrriKWf ovofiafrvrfs. Hippolytus, loc. cit. Eusebius, H. E. 
Bk IV. o. 7, says that Carpocrates was the father of the heresy of the 
Gnostics and contemporary with Basilides. 

4 Epiphanius, Haer. xxvi. c. 7, pp. 174, 176, Oehler. 

28 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

according to his own judgment. In short, all heresies when in- 
vestigated are found to be in many particulars disagreeing with 
their own authors 1 ." 

If Tertullian was right, it is idle to expect that after the 
lapse of nineteen centuries we can hope to distinguish between 
the opinions of an heresiarch and those of his followers who 
differed from or improved upon his teaching. 

Of the country in which the Ophites first appeared, and 
where to the last they had their strongest following, there can, 
however, be little doubt. Phrygia, by which is meant the 
entire central part of Asia Minor or, to use its modem name, 
Anatolia, must from its situation, have formed a great meeting- 
place for different creeds, among which that of the Jews occupied 
in the first centuries of our era a prominent place. Seleucus 
Nicator had followed the example of Alexander in Egypt in 
granting the Jews full rights of citizenship in all his cities, 
and Antiochus the Great took even more practical steps towards 
inducing them to settle there when he transported thither two 
thousand Jewish families from Mesopotamia and Babylon 2 . 
These Jews of the Eastern Diaspora or Dispersion had, however, 
by no means kept whole the faith of their forefathers, and there 
seems in consequence to have been less racial hatred between 
them and the earlier inhabitants of the country here than else- 
where 3 . In religious matters, these last, too, seem to have been 
little affected by the Buhemerism that had destroyed the faith 
of the more sophisticated Greeks, and the orgiastic worship of 
Cybele, Attis, and Sabazius found in Phrygia its principal seat. 
The tendency of the inhabitants towards religious hysteria was 
not likely to be lessened by the settlement in the centre of 
Asia Minor of the Celtic tribes known as the Galatae, who had 
gradually passed under the Roman yoke in the time of Augustus, 
but seem long to have retained their Celtic taste for innovations 

1 Tertullian, de Praescript. Haer. o. XLH. 

2 Josephus, Antiq. Bk Xii. o. 3. 

3 Ramsay, Cities and Bishoprics of Phrygia, II. pp. 667 sqq. j 8t P<wt, 
pp. 142 sqq. ; Commentary on Galatians, pp. 189 sqq. The fact that Timothy, 
the son of the Jewess Eunice by a Greek father, was not circumcised (see 
Acts zvi. 1) is quoted in support. 

vm] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 29 

in religious matters, and to have supplied from the outset an 
endless number of heresies to the Church 1 . Moreover, in the 
Wars of Succession which followed the death of Alexander, 
Phrygia had been bandied about like a shuttlecock between 
Antigonus and Lysimachus ; in the decadence of the Seleucid 
house, it had been repeatedly harried by the pretenders to the 
Syrian crown ; and it had, during the temporary supremacy 
of Mithridates and his son-in-law Tigranes, been subject to the 
tyranny of the Armenians 2 . Thanks to the policy of these 
barbarian kings, it had in great measure been denuded of its 
Greek-speaking inhabitants 3 , the growth of its towns had been 
checked, and the country seems to have been practically 
divided among a crowd of dynasts or priest-kings, generally 
the high-priests of temples possessing vast landed estates 
and preserving their importance by the celebration of yearly 
festivals. Dr MahafEy compares these potentates with the 
prince-bishops and lordly abbots produced by nearly the same 
conditions in mediaeval Europe 4 , and Sir William Eamsay's 
and Mr Hogarth's researches of late years in Anatolia have 
shown how much truth there is in the comparison. 

The religion practised by these priest-kings throughout the 
whole of Asia Minor differed slightly in form, but was one in 
substance 5 . It was in effect the worship of the bisexual and 
mortal gods whom we have already seen worshipped under 
varying names in the Eastern basin of the Mediterranean. 
These deities, whose alternate appearance as male and female, 
infant and adult, could only be explained to Western ears as 
the result of incestuous unions, could all on final analysis be 
reduced to one great divinity in whom all Nature was contained. 
The essence of the Anatolian religion, says Sir William Kamsay, 
when describing the state of things that existed in Phrygia 
immediately before the preaching of St Paul, was 

1 E.g. the Montanist, the most formidable of the heresies which attacked 
the primitive Church* apart from Gnosticism. Of. also G-alatians i. 6. 

2 Mahaffy, Greek World under Eoman Sway, p. 168. For the tyranny 
of the Armenians, see Plutarch, LuvuMus, cc. xrv., xxi. 

* Mahaffy, Ok. World, p. 100. 

4 Mahaffy, ibid. p. 225. 

5 Ramsay, Cities, etc., i. p. 9. 

30 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [CH. 

" the adoration, of the life of Naturethat life apparently subject 
to death, yet never dying, but reproducing itself in new forms, 
different and yet the same. This perpetual self-identity under 
varying forms, this annihilation of death through the power of 
self -reproduction, was the object of an enthusiastic worship, cha- 
racterized by remarkable self-abandonment and immersion in the 
divine, by a mixture of obscene symbolism and sublime truths, by 
negation of the moral distinctions and family ties that exist in a 
more developed society, but do not exist in the free life of Nature. 
The mystery of self-reproduction, of eternal unity amid temporary 
diversity, is the key to explain all the repulsive legends and cere- 
monies that cluster round that worship, and all the manifold 
manifestations or diverse embodiments of the ultimate single divine 
life that are carved on the rocks of Asia Minor 1 ." 

Whether the Phrygians of Apostolic times actually saw all 
these sublime ideas underlying the religion of their country 
may be doubted ; but it is fairly certain, that at the time in 
question there was worshipped throughout Anatolia a divine 
family comprising a goddess known as the Mother of the Gods, 
together with a male deity, who was at once her son, her spouse, 
her brother, and sometimes her father 2 . The worship of this 
pair, who were in the last resort considered as one bisexual 
being, was celebrated in the form of festivals and mystery- 
plays like those of the Middle Ages, in which the birth, nuptials, 
death, and resurrection of the divinities were acted in dramatic 
form. At these festivals, the worshippers gave themselves up 
to religious excitement alternating between continence some- 
times carried to the extent of self-mutilation on, the part of 
the men, and hysterical or religious prostitution on the part 
of the women 3 . The gathering of foreign merchants and slaves 
in the Anatolian cities, and the constant shifting of their 

1 Ramsay, Cities, etc., I. p. 87. 

2 Ramsay, ibid, I, p. 92. 

3 Ramsay, ibid. i. pp. 93, 94. The Galli or priests of Cybele, who 
mutilated themselves in religious ecstasy, seem to have been the feature 
of Anatolian, religion which most struck the Romans, when the statue of 
the Mother of the Gods first appeared among them. Ci next page. For 
the other side of the religion, see Lucian, tie Dea Syria,, oo. VL, sun., and 
Apuleius, Metamorph. Bk vm. c. 29. 

vm] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 31 

inhabitants by their successive masters, had forced on the 
votaries of these Phrygian deities a theocrasia of the most 
complete kind, and the Phrygian god and goddess were in turn 
identified with the deities of 'Eleusis, of whom indeed they may 
have been the prototypes, with the Syrian Aphrodite and Adonis, 
with the Egypto-Greek Serapis and Isis, and probably with 
many Oriental deities as well 1 . At the same time, their fame 
and their worship had spread far beyond Phrygia. The 
primitive statue of the goddess of Pessinus, a black stone or 
baetyl dignified by the name of the Mother of the Gods, was 
transported to Rome in the stress of the Second Punic War 
and there became the centre of a ritual served by eunuch priests 
supported by the State 2 ; while, later, her analogue, the Syrian 
goddess, whose temple at Hierapolis, according to Lucian, 
required a personnel of over three hundred ministrants, became 
the object of the special devotion of the Emperor Nero 3 . As 
with the Alexandrian divinities, the respect paid to these 
stranger deities by the legions carried their worship into every 
part of the Roman world 4 . 

The element which the Jews of Asia contributed to Anatolian 
religion at this period was probably more important than has 
been generally supposed. M. Cumont's theory that the epithet 
of the "Highest" f'T^o-ro?) often applied to the God of Anatolia 
and Syria really covers the personality of Yahweh of Israel 
rests upon little proof at present 5 . It may be conceded that 
the tendency to monotheism or to speak strictly their hatred 

1 As in the hymn to Attis said to have been sung in the Great Mysteries, 
given in the Philosophumena (see p. 54, infra). Cf. Ramsay, Cities, etc., 
I. pp. 132, 263, 264, for other identifications. The Anatolian name of the 
Dea Syria to whose cult Nero was addicted, was Atargatis, which Prof. 
Garstang would derive from the Babylonian Ishtar (Strong, Syrian Goddess, 
1913, p. vii) ; see Cumont, Les Religions Orientates dans le Paganisme 
Momain, Paris, 1906, p. 126. The whole of Cumont's chapters on Syria 
and Asia Minor (op. dt. pp. 57~&9) can be consulted with advantage* 
The American edition, 1911, contains some additional notes. See, too, 
Deoharme's article on Cybele in Daremberg and Saglio's Diet. des Antiq- 

2 Dill, Nero to Marcus AweUus, pp. 548 sqq. 
9 See n. 1, supra ; Suetonitis, Nero, c. LVI. 

* Dill, loc. cit., and authorities there quoted. 

* Cumont, Rel. Or. p. 77, and see index to American edition, 1911. 

32 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

for the worshippers of many gods rooted in the Jews from the 
Captivity onwards may at first have done much to hasten the 
progress of the theocrasia which was welding all the gods of 
the Mysteries into one great God of Nature. But the Baby- 
. Ionian or Oriental Jews, called in the Talmud and elsewhere 
the Ten Tribes, probably had some inborn sympathy with the 
more or less exalted divinities of the West. Even in the temple 
of Jerusalem, Bzekiel sees in his vision " women weeping for 
Tammuz 1 ," while Jeremiah complains of the Jews making cakes 
to the Queen of Heaven, which seems to be another name for 
the Mother of the Gods 2 . The feminine side of the Anatolian 
worship can therefore have come to them as no new thing. 
Perhaps it was due to this that they so soon fell away from their 
ancestral faith, and that, in the words of the Talmud, " the 
baths and wines of Phrygia separated the Ten Tribes from 
their brethren 8 ." That their collection of money for the Temple 
in Eoman times was due not so much to any religious motive, 
as to some of the financial operations in which the Jews were 
always engaging, Cicero hints with fair plainness in his Oration 
in defence of Flaccus 4 . They seem, too, to have intermarried 
freely with the Greek citizens, while the sons of these mixed 
marriages did not undergo the circumcision which the Jews of 
the Western Dispersion demanded not only from native Jews 
but also from proselytes of alien blood 5 . 

The Jews also brought with them into Phrygia superstitions 
or side-beliefs to which they were probably much more firmly 
attached than to their national religion. The practice of magic 
had always been popular among the Chosen People as far back 
as the time of Saul, and the bowls inscribed with spells against 
enchantments and evil spirits form almost the only relics which 

1 Ezekiel viii 14. 

2 Jeremiah vii. 18 ; Ixiv. 17-19. 

8 Ramsay, Cities, etc., n. p. 674, quoting Neubauer, Qtogr&pHe du 

* Cicero, pro Place, o, xxvrcr. The Jews of the Dispersion in Egypt had 
temples of their own, in one at least of which Yahweh had for assessors a 
goddess Anat and a subordinate god Bethel See Rene" Dussaud, f< Les 
Papyrus jud^o-arameens d'HephantmeV' JR.H.JR. t. LXIV. (1911) p. S6U 

6 Acts xvi. 2, 3. See n. 3, p. 28, supra. 

vin] Post- Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 33 

they have left in the mounds which mark their settlement at 
Hilleh on the site of the ancient Babylon 1 . From this and 
other evidence, it would seem that the Babylonian Jews had 
borrowed from their Chaldaean captors many of their views as 
to the importance of the Name in magic, especially when used 
for the purposes of exorcism or of spells ; that they thought 
the name of their national god Yahweh particularly efficacious ; 
and that the different names of God used in the Old Testament 
were supposed, according to a well-known rule in magic, to be 
of greater efficiency as the memory of their meaning and actual 
significance died out among them 2 . The Babylonian Jews, 
moreover, as is evident from the Book of Daniel, no sooner 
found themselves among the well-to-do citizens of a great city 
' than they turned to the professional practice of divination and 
of those curious arts whereby they could make a living from the 
credulity of their Gentile neighbours without the manual labour 
always dreaded by them 3 . Hence Phrygia, like the rest of 
Asia Minor during the Apostolic Age, was full of strolling 
Jewish sorcerers who undertook for money to cast out devils, 
to effect and destroy enchantments, to send and interpret 
dreams, and to manufacture love philtres 4 . That in doing so 
they made great use of the name of their national deity seems 
plain from Origen's remark that " not only do those belonging 
to the Jewish nation employ in their prayers to God and in the 
exorcising of demons the words : God of Abraham and God of 

1 Layard, Nineveh and Babylon, 1853, pp. 509 sqq. Was this why Daniel 
was called " Master of the Magicians " ? Dan. iv. 9 ; v. 11. 

2 Thus, in a Coptic spell, the Words from the Cross : " EH, eli, lama 
sabachthani," are described as " the revered names of God.'* See Rossi, 
" Tratt&to gnostico " in Mem. della Real. Accad. di Torino, Ser. B ? xm. 
fol. 9. So in mediaeval magic the word " Eieazareie }> or " Escherie " 
is frequently used, apparently without any suspicion that it covers the 
fiTIN 1B>N nTTK 'Ehyeh 'asher 'ehyeh " I am that I am " of Exodus. 

3 Hausrath, Hist, of New Testament Times, Eng. ed. 1878, 1. pp. 126, 127, 
and authorities there quoted. 

* See last note. In the Acts, Bar-jesus or Elymas the sorcerer, the 
seven sons of Soeva* and some of those who burned their magical books 
at Ephesus, are said to be Jews. Harnack, Expansion of Christianity, 
Eng. ed. I. pp. 156, 157, says the Jews were known as exercisers of 
demons throughout the Roman Empire. 


34 Post- Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

Isaac and God of Jacob, but so also do most of those who occupy 
themselves with magical rites. For there is found in treatises 
on magic in many countries such an invocation of God and 
assumption of the divine name, as implies a familiar use of it 
by these men in their dealings with demons 1 ." This is abun- 
dantly borne out by the spells preserved for us by the Magic 
Papyri before mentioned, where the expressions " God of 
Abraham," " God of Isaac," " God of Jacob " constantly 
occur. One spell given above contains, as we have seen, 
along with many unfamiliar expressions drawn from Greek, 
Persian, Egyptian, and even Sumerian sources, the words 
" Blessed be the Lord God of Abraham 2 ," and in nearly every 
one do we find the Tetragrammaton or four-lettered name of 
God transliterated in the A.V. Jehovah, either with or without 
some of the other Divine names used in the Old Testament. 
The names of the angels Gabriel, Michael, and Raphael given 
in the Old Testament and the Apocrypha are also common 
in all this literature 3 . 

Did the Babylonian Jews bring with them into Phrygia any 
theory of the universe other than the direct and unfettered 
rule of Jehovah and the creation of the world from nothing, 
which they gathered from their sacred books ? There is little 
evidence on the point, save some expressions of doubtful import 
in the Magic Papyri 4 and the statement of Origen that " the 
name Sabaoth, and Adonai and the other names treated with 
so much reverence among the Hebrews belong to a secret 

1 Origen, cant. Gels. Bk iv. o. 33. Of, ibid. c. 34, and Bk I. o. 22, Also 
Justin Martyr's Dial c. Tryph. c, LXXXV. 

2 See Chapter III, vol. i. n. 6, p. 106, supra. 

3 Karl Wessely, in Expositor, Series III, vol. iv. (1886), pp. 194 sqq. f 
gives many specimens of those spells. The papyri from whioh they are 
taken are printed in full in, his Grieckische Zauberpapyrus von Paris und 
London, Wien, 1888, and his Neue Griechische Zauberpapyri, Wien, 1893. 
See also Parthey, Zwei griechische Zauberpapyri dea Berliner Musewna, 
Berlin, 1866 ; Leemans, Papyri Graeci Mus. Ant. Publ Lugduni Balavi, 
t. n., Leyden, 1885, and Kenyon, Ok. Papyri in B.M. before quoted. 

4 They sometimes speak of certain expressions being used by the 
apx^ptls " high priests," Leemans, op. cit. t. n. p. 29. Does this mean th 
adepts in magic or the heads of a sect ? 

YIII] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 35 

theology which, refers to the Framer of all things 1 ." It might 
be possible to deduce from this that the elaborate system known 
as the Cabala or secret tradition of the Jews was already in 
existence 2 . This system, on its theoretical or speculative side, 
attempts to explain the existence of the physical universe by 
postulating a whole series of intermediate powers emanating 
from the Supreme Being of whom they are the attributes or 
names ; while, on the other or "practical," it professes to perform 
wonders and to reveal mysteries by a childish juggling with 
letters in the shape of anagrams and acrostics or with their 
numerical values 3 . As has been said above, follies of this last- 
named kind were unknown neither to the later Orphics nor to 
the primitive Church, and might well be thought to have been 
acquired by the Jews during their stay in Babylon, where the 
Semitic inhabitants seem from a very early date and for magical 
reasons to have used numbers instead of letters in writing the 
names of their gods 4 . It would not have been difficult for them 
to have acquired at the same time from the Persian masters 
of Babylon the doctrine of emanation instead of creation which 
is to be found in the Zend Avesta as well as in all the post-Chris- 
tian Gnostic systems. But there are other channels besides the 
Anatolian religion through which these ideas might have come 
into the "West 5 , and it will be better not to lay any stress upon 
this. That the Cabala in the complete form in which it appears 
in the books known as the Sepher Jetzirah and the Sepher 
Zohar does not go further back than the vith or vnth century 
of our era, seems to be the opinion of all those best qualified 
to judge in the matter. M. Isidore Loeb, who has given the 
most coherent and compact summary of Cabalistic teaching 
that has appeared of late years, finds its germs in Babylonian 
Judaism at about the same period which saw the blossoming of 

1 Origen, cont. Cels. Bk. r. c. 24. 

2 So Knenen, Religion of l&rod, (Eng, ed.), m. p. 314, says that the 
existence of the Cabala is indicated in the Talmud. 

8 See Chapter V, vol. i. pp. 169, 170, supra, 

* The Sumerian moon-god, Nannar, was denoted by the number 30, 
Marduk called 50 and so on. See King, Seven Tablets of Creation, 1902, i. 
p. 66. 

6 See Chapter VII, swpra* 


36 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

the Christian Gnostic sects, without going so far as to derive 
either of the later doctrines from the other 1 . 

However this may be, there is a fair consensus of opinion 
among the Fathers of the Church as to the doctrines current 
among those whom, for reasons to be presently seen, they called 
the Ophites or worshippers of the Serpent. The aim of the 
sect seems to have been to produce an eclectic system which 
should reconcile the religious traditions current from time 
immemorial in Western Asia with the worship of the Hellenized 
gods of .Asia Minor, and the teachings of the already powerful 
Christian Church. "With this view they went back to what is 
probably the earliest philosophical theory of the origin of the 
universe, and declared that before anything was, there existed 
God, but God conceived as an infinite ocean of divinity, too 
great and too remote to be apprehended by man's intelligence, 
of whom and of whose attributes nothing could be known or 
said, and who could only be likened to a boundless sea. Some- 
thing like this was the view of the earliest inhabitants of Baby- 
lonia, who declared that before heaven or earth or the gods 
came into being there was nothing but a vast waste of waters 2 . 
At some time or another, the same idea passed into Egypt, 
when the Egyptians attributed the beginning of things to Nu 
or the primaeval deep 3 ; and it was probably the spread of 
this tradition into Ionia which induced Thales of Miletus, the 
earliest of the Ionian philosophers, to assert that water was 
the first of all things 4 . This unknowable and inaccessible 

1 Isidore Loeb, La Cabbale Juive, p. 587. F. Herman Krtiger, La Grande 
Encyclopddie, s.v. Gnosticisme, and Franck, La Kabbale, Paris, 1843, p. 203, 
both notice the likeness between Gnosticism and the Cabala and say that 
they are derived from the same source. 

2 See the Sumerian Hymn of Creation translated by Sayce, Religions 
of Ancient Egypt and Babylonia (Gifford Lectures), Edinburgh, 1902, p. 380 ; 
Jastrow, Religion of Babylonia and Assyria, Boston, "U.S.A. 1893, p. 490 ; 
King, Seven Tablets, p. 3 ; Rogers, Eel. of Bab., p. 108. 

8 " Au commencement etait le Nun, Toc^an primordial, dans ls pro- 
f ondeurs infinies duquel flottaient les germes des choses. Be toute &ternit 
Dieu s'engendra et s'enfanta lui-m^me au sein de cette masse liquide sans 
forme encore et sans usage." Maspero, Hist. Ancienne des Peoples cU 
rOrient, p. 326. 

4 Diogenes Laertius, Vit. Pkilosoph. Bk 1^ o. 6. 

vm] Post-Christian G-nostics: the Ophites 37 

power, the Ophites declared to be ineffable or impossible to 
name, and lie was only referred to by them as Bythos or the 
Deep. The same idea and the same name were adopted by 
most of the later Gnostics 1 . 

1 Including in that name some who attained to high office in the Catholic 
Church. Thus Hatch, H. L. p. 255, says with apparent truth that Clement 
of Alexandria <c anticipated Plotinus in conceiving of God as being ' beyond 
the One and higher than the Monad itself,* which was the highest abstrac- 
tion of current philosophy." The passage he here relies on is in Clement's 
Paedagogus, Bk i. c. 8. Hatch goes on to say, " There is no name that can 
properly be named of Him : e Neither the One nor the Good, nor Mind, 
nor Absolute Being, nor Father, nor Creator, nor Lord ' " expressions to 
be found in Clement's 8tromata, Bk v. c. 12. Clement's orthodoxy may 
be called in question ; but no fault has been found in that respect with 
Synesius, Bishop of Ptolemais and the friend of Hypatia. Yet in his Hymns 
he uses expressions which would have come naturally to the lips of any 
Ophite. Thus : 

2v d* apprjv, <rv $e tirjXvs, "Male thou and female, 

2v Se <pa>vd, crv 8e crtya, Voice thou and silence, 

^uo-ews- <piia-is yovSxra, Nature engendered of Nature, 

2v d' az>a, al&vos auov, Thou, the Kong, the Aeon of Aeons, 

To ftv, fi defjiLs /3oa<rai ; What is it lawful to call thee ? 

and again 

Uarp(ov Trdvrav Father of all Fathers, 

Harep, auroTrarojp, Father of thyself, 

Propator [Forefather] who hast no 

Son of thyself 

Se voos But the initiated mind 

Td re KCU ra Xe'-yet, Says this and that, 

BvQbv apprjrov Celebrating with dances 

'AfjLfaxopevav. The Ineffable Bythos. n 

(Hymn III) 

The ineffability of divine names was an old idea in Egypt, especially 
in the Osirian religion, where it forms the base of the story of Ka and 
Isis. So the name of Osiris himself was said to be ineffable. See Eug. 
Lef6bure in Sphinx, Stockholm, voL I. pp. 99-102. The name of Marduk 
of Babylon is in the same way declared ineffable in an inscription of NerL 
glissar, Trans. Roy. Soc. Lift. 2nd series, vol. vnr. p. 276. The name of 
Yahweh became ineffable directly after Alexander. See Haldvy, Revue des 
$tudes juives, t. ix. (1884), p. 172. In every case, the magical idea that the 
god might be compelled by utterance of his secret name seems to be at the 
root of the practice. Cf. Erman, Life in Ancient Egypt, Eng. ed. p. 354* 

38 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

Prom this unknowable principle or Father (Har^p 

there shone forth, according to the Ophites, a Primordial Light, 

infinite and incorruptible, which is the Father of all things 

subsequent to him 1 . Here they may have been inspired, not 

by the Babylonian, but by its derivative, the Jewish tradition 

given in the Book of Genesis 2 . But this Light was in effect, 

though not in name, the chief god of their system, and in Asia 

Minor the gods had never perhaps been imagined as existing 

in any but human form. Accordingly they described this Light 

as the First Man, meaning thereby no terrestrial creature, but 

a heavenly or archetypal man in whose likeness mankind was 

afterwards made 3 . From him came forth a second Light 

sometimes called his Ennoia or Thought, which expression 

seems to cover the idea that this Second Man or Son of Man, 

by both which names he was known to the Ophites, was not 

begotten in the ordinary way of mortals, but was produced 

from the First Man as a thought or concept is formed in the 

brain 4 . Or we may, to take another metaphor, regard this 

Ennoia as the rays of light which emanate or flow forth from 

a lamp or other source of light, but which have no independent 

existence and still remain connected with their parent. Such. 

was the Ophite idea with regard to the two great Lights or the 

1 The whole account of Ophite doctrine as to the origin of things is 
here taken from Irenaeus, Bk I. o. 28, pp. 226 sqq., Harvey, 

2 Genesis i. 8. 

3 Philo explains that there is a vast difference between man as now 
made and the first man who was made according to the image of God, 
De opificio mundi, c. 46. This idea of an archetypal man was widely spread 
over Eastern Europe and Asia, and Bousset, fflauptprobkme der Onosie, 
Gottingen, 1907, Kap. iv, " Der Urmensch," has collected all or nearly 
all the references to it in the literature of the period that could be produced 
tip to that date. As to its origin, the issue is still very doubtful. While 
we should naturally expect to find it in the Babylonian legends, the Tablets 
of Creation contain no certain allusion to it, while it is certainly to be traced 
in the Zend Avesta and its related books. Until we are able to compare 
the dates of these two sources it seems idle to speculate as to which is 
the original one and which the derived. But see Introduction (pp. xxi-xxiii 
and note on last page quoted) supra. 

* This is a less primitive and therefore probably later way of accounting 
for the birth of one spkitual or superhuman being from another, than that 
of Simon Magus who made his Supreme Being androgyne. 

YIII] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 39 

First and Second Man whom they refused to consider as separate, 
giving them both the name of Adamas, or the Unconquered, 
a classical epithet of the Hades already identified at Bleusis 
with Dionysos 1 . They also called them, as will be seen later, 
the Father-and-Son. In this, perhaps, they did not go outside 
the conception of the Anatolian religion, which always repre- 
sented the Divine Son as the spouse of the goddess who gave him 
birth, and in this way eternally begetting himself. Thus, the 
Phrygian goddess Cybele under the name of Agdistis was said to 
be violently enamoured of Atys who was in effect her own son 2 . 
The same idea was familiar to the Egyptians, among whom 
more than one god is described as the "bull (i.e. male or husband) 
of his mother," and it may thus have passed into the Alexandrian 
religion, where Horus was, as we have seen, often given instead 
of Osiris as the lover of Isis 3 . At Eleusis it was more modestly 
concealed under the myth which made Dionysos or Hades at 
once the ravisher of Persephone and her son by Zeus in serpent 
form a myth which is summed up in the mystic phrase pre- 
served by Clement of Alexandria that " The bull is the father 
of the serpent, and the serpent the father of the bull 4 ." 

Thus the Ophites accounted for the divinity who was in 
effect their Supreme God, the still higher Bythos, as we have 
seen, being put in the background as too awful for human 
consideration 5 . But it was still necessary to make manifest 

1 Theocritus, Idyll, n. 1. 34. For the identity of Hades and Dionysos 
see Chapter II. vol. i. supra. 

2 Pausanias, Descpt. Oraec. Bk vm. cc. 17, 20 ; Arnobius, adv. Gentes, 
Bk v. cc. 5, 7. Of. Decharme in Daremberg and Saglio's Diet, des Antiq. 
$.v. Cybele. 

3 See Chapter II. vol. I. supra. 

4 Clem. Alex. Protrept, c. n. ; Arnobius, op. cit. Bk vi. c. 21, calls it 
" the well-known senarian verse of a poet of Tarentum," and connects it 
with the Sabazian rites, whence it probably found its way to Eleusis. 

5 This relegation of the really Supreme God to an unregarded place in 
the pantheon is common enough in the history of religions. Thus the 
Shilluks of the Upper -Nile take little notice of their great god Jok, to whom 
they only sacrifice once a year, reserving all the rest of their worship for 
a being intermediate between God and man called Nyakang. See Gleichen, 
The Anglo-Egyptian Soudan, vol. I. pp. 162, 197, and R.H.R. 1911, Juillet- 

40 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

the feminine aspect of the deity which was always very pro- 
minent in Asia Minor. The Mother of the Gods, known as 
Ma in Lydia, Cybele in Phrygia proper, Artemis at Ephesus, 
the unnamed Syrian goddess at Hierapolis, and Aphrodite in 
Cyprus and elsewhere 1 , was in the early Christian centuries 
the most prominent person in the Anatolian pantheon, a fact 
which Sir William Ramsay would attribute to the matriarchate, 
Mutterrecht, or custom of descent in the female line, which he 
thinks indigenous to Asia Minor. In the earliest Phrygian 
religion there seems little doubt that the supreme goddess was 
originally considered to be bisexual, and capable of production 
without male assistance, as is expressly stated in the legend of 
Agdistis or Cybele preserved by Pausanias 2 , and perhaps hinted 
at in the stories of Amazons spread throughout the whole of 
Asia Minor. But it is probable that, as Sir William Ramsay 
himself says, this idea had become less prominent with the 
immigration from Europe of tribes of male warriors without 
female companions 3 , while Semitic influence was always against 
it. Hence the Ophites found themselves compelled to make 
their female deity inferior or posterior to their male. " Below 
these, again (i.e. below the First and Second Man or Father-and- 
Son)," says Irenaeus in reporting their doctrines, " is the Holy 

Spirit whom they call the First Woman 4 . 35 Neither he nor 

Hippolytus gives us any direct evidence of the source whence 
this feminine Power was thought by them to have issued. But 
Hippolytus says without circumlocution that " this Man," 
i.e. Adamas or the Father-and-Son, " is both male and female 5 /' 
and he quotes the words of an Ophite hymn 6 addressed to him 
that : " From thee is Father and through thee is Mother, two 
names immortal, parents of Aeons, thou citizen of heaven, 

1 Seen. 1, p. 31, supra. The Dect Syria was otherwise called Atargatis, 
of which Derketo was, teste Prof. Garstang, a homonym. See Strong, The 
Syrian Goddess, p. 52 and n. 26. 

2 See n. 1, p. 31, supra, 

8 Ramsay, Cities, etc., I. p. 9. 

4 Trenaeus, op. tit. Bk I. c. 28, p. 227, Harvey. 

6 dpcrv60rfKvs, Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. c, 1, p. 139, Omioe. 

* See next note. 

vni] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 41 

Man of mighty name 1 ! " Later, lie puts in the mouth of the 
Naassene or Ophite writer from whom he repeatedly quotes, 
the phrase : 

" The Spirit is where the Father and the Son are named, from whom 
and from the Father it is there born ; and this (that is, the Spirit) 
is the many-named, myriad-eyed Incomprehensible One for whom 
every nature in different ways yearns," 

or in other words the soul or animating principle of Nature 2 . 
It therefore seems that the first Ophites made their Supreme 
God a triad like the Eleusinian, the Alexandrian, and the 
Anatolian, consisting of three persons two of whom were males 
and the third a female, or a Father, Mother, and Son, of whom 
the Son was but another and renewed form of the Father, 
while the union of all three was necessary to express every 
aspect of the Deity, who was nevertheless one in essence 3 , 

<rov Trarrjp Kat did ere pj-nyp, ra dvo dBdvara oVo'para, 
yoveiff, TroXira ovpavov, fieyaXobvv/ze ai/0pa>7re, HippolytllS, op. dt. Bk V. 
c. 1, p. 140, Cruice. Salmon points out that almost the same words occur 
in Hippolytua' account of the heresy of Monoimus the Arab, where he 
describes the monad as being among other things : Avrr] prjrrjp, O.VTTJ 
TraTrjp, ra duo aQdvara ovo/iara, Op. tit. Bk VHE. C. 12, p. 410, Cruice. 
He is inclined to attribute this to the real or supposed fact that both the 
Naassenes and Monoimus borrowed from the Apophasis of Simon. See 
Salmon in Diet. Christian Biog. s.v. Monoimus. 

2 To Se 7TVGVfj.a CKel [eorrtv] OTTOU K.CU 6 Harrjp ovojuaferai KCU 6 Yios, 

K TOVTOV [KCU K\ TOV HarpOS Kf1 yVV<b[JiVOVj K.T.X.-j HlppolytUS, Op. tit. 

Bk v. c. 9, pp. 174, 185, Cruice. The words in brackets are Cruice's 
emendation. Duncker and Schneidewin omit them and read yevv&pfvos 
for yw&ijivov. Giraud, op. tit. pp. 92, 93, agrees with Cruice's reading, 
and points out that both the Spirit and the Son are here put forward as > 
the masculine and f ermnine forms respectively of the great Adamas, It is 
evident, however, that among the earlier Ophites represented by Irenaeus' 
Greek text, the Spirit or First Woman was thought to come into being 
after the First Man and the Son of Man. See Irenaeus, Bk i. c. 28, p. 227, 

3 Thus after saying that " he who says all things are composed (o-we- 
(rrdvai) from one (substance) errs, but that he who says they are framed 
from three speaks the truth," he goes on to say M/a yap evri <j)r)<riv, 57 
jua/cap/a (j>vcris TOV pciKaptov avQp&irov TOV avco, TOV 'Ada/iavroff- /u'a Se 17 QvrjTT] 
Kara- fjiia $e 17 a@aar&VTOs ycvca 77 avca ycvopevr], K.T.X., "For one is the 
blessed nature of the blessed Man above, viz. : Adamas, and one is the 

42 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

This threefold division of things, said the Ophites, ran through 
all nature cc there being three worlds or universes : the angelic 
(that sent directly from God), the psychic, and the earthly or 
material ; and three Churches : the Chosen, the Called, and the 
Captive 1 .' 5 The meaning of these names we shall see later 
when we consider the Ophite idea of the Apocatastasis 2 or 
return of the worlds to the Deity, 

First, however, another Power had to be produced which 
should serve as an intermediary or ambassador from the Supreme 
Triad to the worlds below it. This necessity may have arisen 
from Plato's view, adopted by Philo of Alexandria, that God 
was too high and pure to be contaminated by any contact 
with matter 3 . But it may also owe something to the idea 
common to all Orientals that a king or great man can only 
communicate with his inferiors through a waJcil or agent ; and 
that this idea was then current in Phrygia seems plain from 
the story in the Acts of the Apostles that in the Lycaonian 
province Barnabas, who was of majestic presence, was adored 
and nearly sacrificed to as Zeus, while Paul, who was the 
principal speaker, was only revered as Hermes 4 . The later 
Ophite account of the production of this intermediary power 
or messenger which we find in Irenaeus is that the Father- 
and-Son " delighting in the beauty of the Spirit " that is of 
the First Woman " shed their light upon her " and thus 
brought into existence " an incorruptible light, the third 
man, whom they call Christos 5 ." With this last addition the 

nature below which is subject to death, and one is the kingless race which 
is begotten above," etc. Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. c 8, p. 157, Gruice. 

1 Hippolytus, op. cit* Bk v. c, 1, p. 140, Cruice. 

2 diroKarao-racrts (see p. 57 infra). As Salmon has shown with 
great clearness, this, rather than the redemption of individual souls, is the 
aim of all post- Christian Gnostic systems/ZKctf. Christian Biog. e.v. Gnos- 

3 Philo, de Bacnfi&antibus, c. 13 ; n. p. 261, Mangey, 
* Acts xiv. 11-18. 

5 Postea, dicurit, exultante primo homin cum fiHo suo super formosi- 
tate Spiritus, hoc est foeminae, et illuminante earn, generavit ex ea lumen 
incorruptibile, tertium masculum, quern Christum vooant. So the Latin 
version of Irenaeus, Bk I. c. 28, p, 227, Harvey, The Greek text, which 
should contain Irenaeus' own words, only says ; 'Epacr^po* dl $e*<n r&*> 

vin] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 43 

Divine Family was considered complete, and the same author 
tells us that Christos and his mother were " immediately drawn 
up into the incorruptible aeon which they call the veritable 
Church 1 ." This seems to be the first appearance in Gnosticism 
of the use of the word Church as signifying what was later 
called the Pleroma or Fulness of the Godhead ; but it may be 
compared to the " Great Council " apparently used in the same 
sense by some unidentified prophet quoted by Origen, of which 
Great Council Christ was said by the prophet to be the " Angel " 
or messenger 2 . 

From this perfect Godhead, the Ophites had to show the 
evolution of a less perfect universe,* a problem which they 
approached in a way differing but slightly from that of Simon 
Magus. This last, as we have seen, interposed between God 
and our own world three pairs of " Roots " or Powers together 
with an intermediate world of aeons whose angels and authori- 
ties had brought our universe into existence. These angels 
purposely fashioned it from existing matter, the substance most 
removed from and hostile to God, in order that they might 

Z', KCtL T&V 8VTpOV, TTJS (Spas ToC HvVfJLaTOf...KOL 

crai <$... 6 KoXovcri, Xpi<rroz/. Something, however, has evidently been 
expunged from the earlier version of the story, and it is possible that the 
later interpolation is due to the desire of the translator to make the 
teaching of the heretics as repulsive as possible. Theodoret merely copies 
the Latin text of Irenaeus. 

1 clsrbv &<j)6apTov a.vacnrav&rivai A.lS>va y ^v KOL aXyQwYjV lKK\r)<riav jcoXovoi* 
Irenaeus, Zoc. tit. p. 228, Harvey. 

2 This Divine [Family or Council must have been an old idea in post- 
exilic Judaism. Justin Martyr, Dial. c. Tryph. c. 126, says that Christ 
is called the " Angel of the Great Council " by Ezekiel, but the expression 
is not to be found in the A.V. Origen, cont. Cels. Bk v. c. 53, also speaks 
of a prophecy in which Jesus was described as the " Angel of the Great 
Council, because he announced to men the great counsel of God " a pun 
which curiously enough is the same in Greek as in English. The Jews of 
Elephantine worshipped in their temple a god and a goddess who were looked 
upon as the assessors, if the inferiors, of Yahweh (see n. 4, p. 32, .supra). 
In the Talmud, it is said that God has an upper or celestial familia or 
tribunal without consubting which he does nothing, and which is indicated 
by the " holy ones " of Dan. iv. 17. See Taylor, Pirke-Aboth, Cambridge, 
1877, H. p. 43, n. 7. The expression " Angel of the Great Council " recurs 
in the Gnostic epitaph from the Via Latina given later (Chapter IX). 

44 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

rule over it and thus possess a dominion of their own. But the 
Ophites went behind this conception, and made the first con- 
fusion of the Divine light with matter the result of an accident. 
The light, in Irenaeus' account of their doctrines, shed by the 
Pather-and-Son upon the Holy Spirit was so abundant that she 
could not contain it all within herself, and some of it therefore, 
as it were, boiled over and fell down 1 , when it was received by 
that matter ^whiich, Jijey^ like Simon, looked upon as existing^ 
They described this last as separated into four 

* elements, water, darkness, the abyss, and chaos, which we may 
suppose to be different strata of the same substance, the upper- 
most layer being apparently the waste of waters mentioned in 
Genesis. Palling upon these waters, the superfluity of light of 
the Holy Spirit stirred them, although before immovable, to 
their lowest depths, and took from them a body formed appar- 
ently from the envelope of waters surrounding it. Then, rising 
again by a supreme effort from this contact, it made out of 
this envelope the visible heaven which has ever since been 
stretched over the earth like a canopy 8 . This superfluity of 

1 Irenaeus, Bk I. c. 28, pp. 227, 228, Harvey, 

2 Giraud, op. cit, p, 95, thinks that in the Naassene teaching matter 
does not really exist, all things being contained in Adamas. The absolute 
antagonism of God and matter is, however, too strongly marked a feature 
of nearly all the sources from which the Ophites can have drawn their 
doctrine for his theory to be entertained. Berger, Etudes des Document* 
nouveaux fournis sur lea Ophites par les Philosophumena, Nancy, 1873, 
p. 25, puts forward the same idea as a mere figure of speech and in order 
apparently to reconcile the Ophite doctrine with St John's statement that 
without the Word " nothing " was made. Later he (ibid. pp. 61, 104, 105) 
points out that the tendency of the Ophite like all other Gnostic doctrine 
is to widen rather than to narrow the abyss between Spirit and Matter. 

8 This is a variant, and an important one, of the Babylonian myth 
which makes Bel, after defeating Tiamat the Dragon of Chaos, cut her in 
two halves and make out of them the visible heaven and earth. See Rogers, 
op. cit p. 126. The heaven which there is fashioned from the powers of 
evil, is here at any rat half divine. In later systems, such as one of those 
in the Pistis Sophia and especially that of the Manichaeans, the older 
Babylonian idea is returned to. It would therefore seem that for the 
modification here introduced, the Ophites were indebted to Jewish influence 
and forced it to agree with the story of Genesis. See Irenaeus, op. tit. 
Bk i. c. 28, p. 229, Harvey. 

YIII] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 45 

light which thus mingled with matter, the earlier Ophites 
called, like the authors of the Wisdom-literature, Sophia, and 
also Prunicos (meaning apparently the ( * substitute ") and de- 
scribed as bisexual 1 . Another and perhaps a later modification 

1 Irenaeus, loc. cit. p. 228, Harvey. This is the first unmistakable 
allusion to the figure of the Sophia which is so prominent in most of the 
Gnostic systems and reappears in Manichaeism. There can, I think, be 
no doubt that she is in effect the Great Goddess worshipped throughout 
Western Asia, who appears under different names in Lydia, Phrygia, 
Syria, Ionia, Crete, and Greece, and who is to be identified on etymological 
grounds, if Prof. Garstang (n. 1, p. 31, supra) is correct, with the Babylonian 
Ishtar. That the Alexandrians saw her in their goddess Isis has already 
been shown in Chap. II. Her most prominent characteristics show her to 
be a personification of the Earth, the mother of all living, ever bringing 
forth and ever a virgin, as is shown in the " Goddesses Twain," Demeter 
and Cora. The dove was throughout Asia her symbol and perhaps 
her totem animal (Strong, The Syrian Goddess, pp. 22-24 for authority), 
as the serpent was that of her spouse or male counterpart (Justin. 
Martyr, First Apol. c, XXVH. ; Clem. Alex. Protrept. c. n.). In the 
Orphic cosmogonies she appears under her name of Gaia or Ge as the " first 
bride " (Abel's Orphica, fr. 91) spouse of Uranos, as well as under all her 
subsequent personifications. She seems, too, to bear much analogy with 
the Persian Amshaspand, Spenta Armaiti, who is also identified with the 
earth, and is called Sophia or Wisdom (Tiele, Religion of the Iranian Peoples, 
Eng. ed. Bombay, 1912, pp. 130, 131). Whether the Persians also drew 
this conception from the Babylonian Ishtar is a question which some years 
ago might have been answered in the affirmative. Now, however, it has 
been complicated by the identification of this Spenta Armaiti with the 
Aramati of the Vedas for which see M. Carnoy's article Aramati-Armatay 
in Le Musfon, Louvain, vol. xm. (1912), pp. 127-146 and the discovery of 
Winckler that the Vedic gods were worshipped in Asia Minor "before 1272 B.C. 
Her appearance in the cosmology of the Gnostics under the name of 
Sophia is, however, probably, due to the necessity of effecting by hook or 
by crook a harmony between Gentile and Jewish, ideas, and is doubtless 
due in the first instance to the passage in the Book of Proverbs vm., 
ix., where Wisdom np:pn or *&xap.kQ (in both languages feminine) is de- 
scribed as existing from the beginning and the daily delight of Yahweh, 
rejoicing always before him and his instrument in making the universe 
(Clem. Hem. XVL c. 12). It is said that Simon Magus called his mistress 
Helena by the name of Sophia, but the story only 'occurs in Victorinus of 
Pettau and is probably due to a confusion with the Sophia of later sects like 
that of Valentinus. In all these, with the single exception of that of 
Marcion, she plays a predominant part in the destiny of mankind. 

4:6 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

of their doctrine fabled that it sprang from the left side of the 
First Woman while Christos emerged from her right. They 
therefore called it Sinistra and declared it to be feminine only 1 . 
Both traditions agreed that this Sophia or Prunicos put forth 
a son without male assistance, that this son in like manner 
gave birth to another power and so on, until at last seven powers 
at seven removes sprang from Sophia. Each of them fashioned 
from matter a habitation, and these are represented as heavens 
or hemispheres stretched out one under the other, every one 
becoming less perfect as it gets further from the Primordial 
Light 2 . Irenaeus and Hippolytus are agreed that the first or 
immediate son of Sophia was called laldabaoth, a name which 
Origen says, in speaking of the Ophites, is taken from the art 
of magic, and which surely enough appears in nearly all the 
earlier Magic Papyri 3 . Hippolytus says that this laldabaoth 

1 This appears in the Latin version of Irenaeus only. 

2 *Y^>' K,dorTOv & rourooj/ eva oupavbv SrjfjLLOvpyrjQijvai, KOL faacrrov olKetv 
rov oiKflov. Irenaeus, op. cit. Bk I. c, 28, p. 230, Harvey. 

3 Origen, cont. Cels. Bk vi. c. 32. This laldabaoth or Jaldabaoth appears 
in the systems or heresies of the Nicolaitans and of those whom Epiphanius 
calls " Gnostics " par excellence. See Epiphanius, op. cit. Bk I. t. ii., Haer. 
25, p. 160, and Haer. 26, p. 184. Theodoret, Haer. Fab. Bk v. c. 9, makes 
him belong also to the system of the Sethians. In all these he is the son of 
Sophia and presides over one or more of the super- terrestrial heavens, 
although the particular place assigned to him differs in the different sects* 
In the Pistis Sophia he is described (in the story of Pistis Sophia proper) 
as a power " half flame and half darkness " (of. Ezekiel viii. 2) projected by 
one of the " triple-powered " gods of our universe and sent down into Chaos 
for the destruction of the heroine ; in one of the later documents of the book 
we see him as lord of a particular portion of Chaos, wjaere he presides over 
the punishment of a certain class of sinning $ouls. His nam offers many 
difficulties. Gieseler reads it rnrD K~6s "son of Chaos," and this 
Salmon, Diet. Christian Biog. s.h.v., considers the most probable derivation, 
although Harvey's reading of nimtfr^-m "Lord (or Jah) God 
of the Fathers," is certainly more appropriate. In the great Magic Papyrus 
of Paris, the name appears as ^Ae&Bcor, which can hardly be anything 
else that Aldab6t or Adab6*t, since we have &A6ooiM&i for Adonai in the 
next line (Griffith, The Old Coptic magical texts of Paris, p, 3 ; extract 
from the Zeit&cfarift fttr Agyptische Sprache, Bd. xxxvm.). In Papyrus 
XLVI of the British Museum (Kenyon, Ok. Pap. p. 69), we find /3oX/ 
probably a clerical error for Jaldabaoth, which is again followed as 

YIII] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 47 

was the Demiurge and father of the visible universe or pheno- 
menal world 1 . Irenaeus also gives the names of the later 
" heavens, virtues, powers, angels, and builders " as' being 
respectively lao, Sabaoth, Adonai, Eloaeus, Oreus, and Asta- 
phaeus or Astanpheus, which agrees with the Ophite document 
or Diagram to be presently mentioned 2 . The first four of these 
names are too evidently the names given in the Old Testament 
to Yahweh for us to doubt the assertion of the Fathers that 
by laldabaoth the Ophites meant the God of the Jews 3 . The 
last two names, Oreus and Astaphaeus, Origen also asserts to 

by the name Afoovcu. In the Leyden Papyrus which, calls itself 
the " 8th Book of Moses," we have a god invoked as Aldabeim, which is 
there said to be an Egyptian name, and to be the $v( wopa 
" natural name " of the sun and the boat in which he rises when he dawns 
upon the world (Leemans, op. 'cit. pp. 87, 119, 127). It is not at all certain, 
however, which of these is the right spelling, for the German editors of 
Hippolytus read in one place Esaldaios for laldabaoth, and the Magic 
Papyrus last quoted has a name Aldazad which is said to be quoted from 
a book of Moses called Archangelicus (Leemans, op. cit. p. 157). The name 
laldazao (" El Shaddai " ?) is used as that of the " God of Gods " in the 
great Magic Papyrus of Paris, with whose name that of the aeon Sophia 
is mentioned (Wessely, Qriech. Zauberpap. p. 50). The most probable 
conclusion is that Jaldabaoth represents some name or epithet of God cur- 
rent among the Semitic Babylonians which had fallen into disuse and had 
been much corrupted by being turned into and out of demotic. So Revil- 
lout (Revue figyptologigue) gives an instance where the invocation eirLa-^s 
eVi p " Come unto me ! " by a like process became transmogrified into 
" episJchesepimme " without being recognized by the scribe as Greek. 

1 eldiK&s Koa-fjios, Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. c. 7, p. 153, Cruice. 
By the expression Demiurge he means that he fashioned it from pre-existent 
matter, as a workman builds a house. 

2 Irenaeus, Bki. c. 28, p. 230, Harvey. 

3 Thus Irenaeus, Bk i. c. 18, p. 198, Harvey, in summarizing the teaching 
of Saturninus says that the god of the Jews was one of the (world-creating) 
angels. That Saturninus' opinion was derived from or coincided with 
that of the Ophites, see Salmon, Did. Christian Biog. s.v. Saturninus. 
Hippolytus Naassene also calls Jaldabaoth " a fiery god " and " a fourth 
number/' op. cit, Bk v. c. 7, p. 153, Cruice, in allusion to the text about God 
being a consuming fire and to his Tetragrammaton or four-lettered name. 
Epiphanius, Haer. xxxvn. c. 4, p. 500, Oehler, says Kat OVTOS eVn, fao-iv, 
6 fobs T&V 'lovSatW 6 s !aXSa/3a<0, "And this laldabaoth is, they [the 
Ophites] say, the God of the Jews." 

48 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH, 

be taken from the art of magic, and may be supposed to have 
some connection with fire and water respectively 1 . It is prob- 
able that the later Ophites identified all these seven heavens 
with the seven astrological " planets," i.e. Saturn, Jupiter, 
Mars, the Sun, Venus, Mercury and the Moon in probably that 
order 2 . 

How now did the earth on which we live come into being ? 
The primitive Babylonians, whose ideas and culture were at 
a very early date spread over the whole of Asia Minor, conceived 
the earth not as a globe but as a circular boat like the ancient 
coracle, over which the heavens stretched like a canopy or 
hemisphere 3 . Hence we must regard these heavens of the 
planetary powers, laldabaoth and his progeny, as a series of 
covers fitting one within the other like, in the words of the 
Fathers, " juggling cups," or to take another simile, the succes- 
sive skins of an onion. The earth stretched below these, but 
was at the stage of creation at which we have arrived really 
without form and void, being the formless waste of waters which 
covered the denser darkness and chaos. The ordered shape 
whic^it' afterwards assumed and which we np;w see 5 was t in 
tie Ophite story, the result of the fall of no deity, angel, or 
heavenly power, but of Man. Irenaeus' account of this SeconcT 
Fall is that the six powers descended from laldabaoth began 
to quarrel with their progenitor for supremacy an idea which 
perhaps is to be referred either to the Jewish tradition of the 
revolt of the angels or with more likelihood to the astrological 
ideas about the benefic and malefic planets 4 . This so enraged 

1 Origen, cont. Cels. Bk vi. c. 32. 

2 Hippolytus, op. cit Bk IV. c. 11. 

3 See the picture by Faucher Gudin of the universe according to the 
Babylonians in Maapero, Hist. Ancienne des Peupks de VOrient ClaSQiaue, 
Paris, 1895, t, 1. p. 543, 

* Irenaeus, Bk i, c. 28, pp. 231, 232, Harvey, A sort of oho or perhaps 
a more detailed repetition of the story is found in one of the latest documents 
of the Pistis Sophia, where Jesus tells His disciples that the apxwrcs or 
rulers of Adamas once rebelled and persisted in begetting u archons and 
archangels and angels and serving spirits and decaas " ; that the 12 aeons, 
who are evidently the Signs of the Zodiac, divided into two companies 
of six, half of them under the rule of on Jabra6th repenting and being 
translated into a higher sphere, while the others were " bound " in our 

vm] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 49 

him that he glared in his wrath upon the underlying dregs of 
matter, and his thought (ewoia) implanted there took birth and 
shape 1 . This fresh son of his was possessed of a quality of the 
possession of which he himself had never given any evidence, 
and was called Nous or Intelligence like the male of Simon's 
first syzygy or pair of roots. But he was said to be of serpent 
form( 6(f>f>6/jiop $09) because, as says theNaassene or Ophite author 
quoted by Hippolytus, " the serpent is the personification of 
the watery element," and therefore, perhaps, the symbol of 
that external ocean which the ancients thought surrounded 
the inhabited world 2 . It seems more probable, however, that 
the Ophites were compelled to introduce this form because the 
serpent was worshipped everywhere in Asia Minor as the type 
of the paternal aspect of the earth-goddess' consort 3 . This is 
best shown, perhaps, in the Eleusinian legend of Zeus and 
Persephone ; but Alexander himself was said to have been 
begotten by Zeus in the form of a serpent, and no Phrygian 
goddess seems ever to have been portrayed without one 4 . So 

firmament under the rule of the five planets. Perhaps the origin of the 
whole story is the battle of the Gods and the serpent-footed giants, which 
appears on the Mithraic bas-reliefs, for which see P.S.B.A. 1912, p. 134, 
and PL XVI, 7. It is certainly of Asiatic or Anatolian origin, and seems to 
be connected with volcanic phenomena. Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. e. 13, 
p. 192, Cruice, says this rebellion is a " Chaldaean " doctrine. 

1 rav Se adv^fjcravTa^ els T'fjv rpuya rrjs v\r)S epe7cr$at TJ\V ZwoiaVy K.CLL 
ycwrjcrai vi&v o<pio}jiop(pov % avrrjs, " and [they say that] he being enraged, 
beheld his thought in the dregs of matter, and a serpent-formed 
son was born from it," Irenaeus, Bk i. c. 28, p. 232, Harvey. Perhaps 
this explains how the Ennoia or Thought of God was supposed to take 
definite shape. Other editors wish to read epei'Seo-tfai "fixed" for 

2 Hippolytus, Bk v. c. 9, p. 178, Cruice. 

3 See n. 1, p. 45, supra. So Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. c. 9, p. 178, Cruice, 
when speaking of the Ophites frequenting the mysteries of the Magna 
Mater, says that there is no temple anywhere [he means in Phrygia] with- 
out a serpent. See Bamsay, Cities, etc., I. pp. 51, 87. As King, Gnostics 
and their Remains, p. 225, noted, all the principal cities of Asia Minor, 
Ephesus, Apamea and Pergamum depicted serpents on their coins. Tor 
the story of Alexander's birth, see Budge, Alexander the. Great (Pseudo- 
Callisthenes), p. 8. 

* See Bamsay in last note. 

L.IX. * 

50 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

much was this the case that in the Apocryphal Ada Philippi 
it is said that sacred serpents were kept in all the heathen 
temples in Asia. Hierapolis is, in the same document, called 
Ophioryma or the serpent's stronghold, whence idolatry seems 
to be spoken of as the Echidna or Viper 1 . The connection of 
the serpent with the Sabazian rites has already been mentioned. 
This Ophiomorphus, or god in serpent form, was in the 
later Ophite teaching the cause not only of man's soul but of 
his passions. The Latin text of Irenaeus says that from him 
came " the spirit and the soul and all earthly things, whence 
all forgetfulness, and malice, and jealousy, and envy, and 
death came into being 2 ." This was evidently written under 
the influence of the Christian idea that the serpent of Genesis 
was Satan or the Devil, But Hippolytus tells us, no doubt 
truly, that the Ophiomorphus of the earlier Ophites was in 
the opinion of his votaries a benevolent and beneficent power. 
After saying that they worship 

** nothing else than Naas, whence they are called Naassenes, and 
that they say that to this Naas (or serpent) alone is dedicated every 
temple, and that he is to be found in every mystery and initiatory 
rite/' he continues, " They say that nothing of the things that are, 
whether deathless or mortal, with or without soul, could exist apart 
from him. And all things are set under him, and he is good and 
contains all things within himself, as in the horn of the unicorn, 
whence beauty and bloom are freely given to all things that exist 
according to their nature and relationship 8 ." 

It can hardly be doubted that the writer from whom Hippolytus 
here quotes is referring to the soul or animating principle of 
the world, whom he here and elsewhere identifies with the great 
God of the Greek mysteries*. Hence it was the casting-down 
to this earth of Ophiomorphus which gave it life and shape, 

1 Acta Pkilippi (eel. Tischendorf ), passim. 

2 dehino et Spiritum, et animam et omnia mundialia ; wide generatum 
omnem ohlivionem, et malitiam, et zelum, et invidiam, et mortem. Iren- 
aeus, Bk i. c. 28, p. 232, Harvey. So Dionysos, whose emblem (Clem. 
Alex. Protrept* c. n.) was the serpent, is identified with the soul of the world 
CL Berger, ffitudes suf la PMlosophumenci, Nancy, 1873, pp. 39 aqq. 

3 Hippolytus, op. tit. Bk v. o. 9, p. 178, Cruioe. 
Ibid. Bk v. o. 7, pp. 144, 145, Cruioe. 

YIII] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 51 

and thus stamped upon it the impress of the First Man 1 . As 
Ophiomorphus was also the child of laldabaoth son of Sophia, 
the Soul of the World might therefore properly be said to be 
drawn from all the three visible worlds 2 . 

We come to the creation of man which the Ophites attributed 
to the act of laldabaoth and the other planetary powers, and 
represented as taking place not on the earth, but in some one 
or other of the heavens under their sway 3 . According to 
Irenaeus here our only authority laldabaoth boasted that 
he was God and Father, and that there was none above him 4 . 
His mother Sophia or Prunicos, disgusted at this, cried out 
that he lied, inasmuch as there was above him " the Father of 
all, the First Man and the Son of Man 5 " ; and that laldabaoth 
was thereby led on the counsel of the serpent or Ophiomorphus 
to say, " Let us make man in our own image 6 ! " Here the 
Greek or older text of Irenaeus ends, and our only remaining 
guide is the later Latin one, which bears many signs of having 
been added to from time to time by some person more zealous 
for orthodoxy than accuracy. Such as it is, however, it narrates 
at a length which compares very unfavourably with the brevity 
and concision of the statements of the Greek text, that lalda- 
baoth's six planetary powers on his command and at the 
instigation of Sophia formed an immense man who could only 
writhe along the ground until they carried him to laldabaoth 
who breathed into him the breath of life, thereby parting with 
some of the light that was in himself ; that man " having 
thereby become possessed of intelligence (Nous) and desire 
(Enthymesis) abandoned his makers and gave thanks to the 
First Man " ; that laldabaoth on this in order to deprive man 
of the light he had given him created Eve out of his own 
desire ; that the other planetary powers fell in love with her 

1 Is this the origin of the ideas on the Macrocosm and the Microcosm ? 
$ee Chapter XIII, infra. 

2 See n. 3, p. 41, supra. 

3 Cf. Charles, Book of the Secrets of Enoch, pp. 7, 57. 

4 Irenaeus, Bk i. c. 28, p. 232, Harvey. 

5 It is curious that she did not also mention herself or the Eirst Woman. 

6 This is the story of the earliest or Greek text ; the Latin says that he 
tsaid it to divert the minds of his rebellious sons. 


52 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

beauty and begot from her sons who are called angels ; and 
finally, that the serpent induced Adam and Eve to transgress 
laldabaoth's command not to eat of the fruit of the Tree of 
Knowledge 1 . On their doing so, he cast them out of Paradise, 
and threw them down to this world together with the serpent 
or Ophiomorphus. All this was done by the secret contrivance 
of Sophia, whose object throughout was to win back the light 
and return it to the highest world whence it had originally 
come. Her manner of doing so seems to have been some- 
what roundabout, for it involved the further mingling of light 
with matter, and even included the taking away by her of 
light from Adam and Eve when turned out of Paradise and 
the restoring it to them when they appeared on this earth 
a proceeding which gave them to understand that they had 
become clothed with material bodies in which their stay would 
be only temporary 2 . Cain's murder of Abel was brought about 
by the same agency, as was the begettal of Seth, ancestor of 
the existing human race. We further learn that the serpent 
who was cast down got under him the angels begotten upon 
Eve by the planetary powers, and brought into existence six 
sons who, with himself, form " the seven earthly demons." 
These are the adversaries of mankind, because it was on account 
of man that their father was cast down ; and " this serpent 
is called Michael and Sammael 3 ." Later laldabaoth sent the 

1 Irenaeus, Bk i, c. 28, pp. 232-234, Harvey. This Adam ia of course 
not to be confused with Adamas. Neither did he resemble the Adam of 
Genesis, for he is described as being immensum la&itudine et longitudine, 
Harvey, M cit. t gives many parallels to this from the Talmud and Cabala* 
which must be either taken directly from the Ophite author or borrowed from 
a common source. For Eve's creation, see n. 2, p. 58, supra. 

* Cf. the vestures of light belonging to Jesus in the Pistis Sophia* 
Chapter X, infra. Bo Philo, Quaest. et Sol. in Gen. c. 53, explains that ^h 
coats of skin made by God for Adam and Eve are a u figure of speech " 
for a material body. Origen, in like manner (cent, Cels. Bk xv c. 40), says* 
that the clothing of the protoplasts in tunics of skin covers ** a certain 
secret and mystic doctrine far exceeding Plato's of the soul losing its wings 
and being borne to earth." 

3 Irenaeus, Bk I. c. 28, pp. 234-236, Harvey. The idea of the seven 
evil demons is a very old one in the East. See the Babylonian story of 
the assault of the seven evil spirits on the Moon* S&yce, Gifford 

vm] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 53 

Flood, sought out Abraham, and gave the Law to the Jews. 
In thiSj as in everything, he was opposed by his mother Sophia, 
who saved Noah, made the Prophets prophesy of Christ, and 
even arranged that John the Baptist and Jesus should be born, 
the one from Elizabeth and the other from the Virgin Mary 1 . 
In all this, it is difficult not to see a later interpolation introduced 
for the purpose of incorporating with the teaching of the earlier 
Ophites the Biblical narrative, of which they were perhaps only 
fully informed through Apostolic teaching 2 . It is quite possible 
that this interpolation may be taken from the doctrine of the 
Sethians, which Irenaeus expressly couples in this chapter with 
that of the Ophites, and which, as given by Hippolytus, contains 
many Jewish but no Christian features 3 . Many of the stories 
in this interpolation seem to have found their way into the 
Talmud and the later Cabala, as well as into some of the Mani- 
chaean books. 

So far, then, the Ophites succeeded in accounting to their 
satisfaction for the origin of all things, the nature of the Deity, 
the origin of the universe, and for that of man's body. But 
they still had to account in detail for the existence of the soul 
or incorporeal part of man. Irenaeus, as we have seen, attributes 
it to Ophiomorphus, but although this may have been the belief 
of the Ophites of his time, the Naassenes assigned it a more 
complicated origin. They divided it, as Hippolytus tells us, 
into three parts which were nevertheless one, no doubt corre- 
sponding to the threefold division that we have before seen 
running through all nature into angelic, psychic, and earthly 4 . 
1902, p. 430, in which those who like to rationalize ancient myths can see 
a lunar eclipse. We meet again with Sammael and Michael as names of 
one of them in the diagram to be described later. 

1 Irenaeus, Bk I. c. 28, p. 237, Harvey. 

2 The LXX or Greek version of the Old Testament belongs to the 
Western Diaspora rather than to the Eastern. Perhaps this was why Paul 
and Barnabas in addressing the Phrygians were careful to give them a 
summary of Old Testament history. See Acts xiii. 16 sqq. 

3 The Sethians had a book called the Paraphrase of Seth now lost, 
which from its name may easily have been a heretical version of the Book 
of Genesis. See Hippolytus, op. ciL Bk v. c. 21, p. 223, Cruice. 

* Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. c. 7, p. 145, Cruice, says that this was first 
t taught by the " Assyrians," by which he evidently means the Syrians. 

54 Post-Christian Qnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

The angelic paxt is brought by Christos, who is, as we have 
seen, the angel or messenger of the triune Deity, into " the 
form of clay 1 , " the psychic we may suppose to be fashioned 
with the body by the planetary powers, and the earthly is 
possibly thought to be the work of the earthly demons hostile 
to man 2 . Of these last two parts, however, we hear nothing 
directly, and their existence can only be gathered from the 
difference here strongly insisted upon between things " celestial 
earthly and infernal." But the conveyance of the angelic soul 
to the body Hippolytus 3 Ophite writer illustrates by a bold 
figure from what Homer in the Odyssey says concerning 
Hermes in Ms character of psychopomp or leader of souls 3 , 
As to the soul or animating principle of the world, Hippolytus 
tells us that the Ophites did not seek information concerning 
it and its nature from the Scriptures, where indeed they would 
have some difficulty in finding any, but from the mystic rites 
alike of the Greeks and the Barbarians 4 ; and he takes us in 
turns through the mysteries of the Syrian worshippers of Adonis, 
of the Phrygians, the Egyptian (or rather Alexandrian) wor- 
shippers of Osiris, of the Cabiri of Samothrace, and finally 
those celebrated at Eleusis, pointing out many things which 
he considers as indicating the Ophites' own peculiar doctrine 
on this point 5 . That he considers the god worshipped in all 
these different mysteries to be one and the same divinity seems 
plain from a hymn which he quotes as a song of " the great 
Mysteries," and which the late Prof. Conington turned into 
English verse 6 . So far as any sense can be read into an 

1 Tr\do-}ia TO irfj\ivov, Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. o. 7, p. 153, Cruice. 

2 This is certainly the opinion of the sect responsible for one of the later 
documents of the Pistis Sophia. See Piatis Sophia, pp. 346, 347, Copt. 
So Rossi's Trattato gnoatico, before quoted, speaks throughout of Satan or 
the chief of the powers of evil as the ap^TrXacrjLia * c originator of the form " ? 

3 Hippolytus, see n. 1, supra. 

4 Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. c. 7, p. 144, Cruice* 

5 Ibid. Bk v. c. 8, pp. 157-173, Cruice. 

6 Son of Saturn, son of Jove 

Or born of mighty Rhea's love. 

Holy name, that sounds so dear 

To that ancient Rtiea% ear. [Thee 

vm] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 55 

explanation made doubly hard for us by our ignorance of what 
really took place in the rites the Ophite writer describes, or 
of any clear account of his own tenets, he seems to say that 
the many apparently obscene and sensual scenes that he alludes 
to, cover the doctrine that man's soul is part of the universal 
soul diffused through Nature and eventually to be freed from 
all material contact and united to the Deity ; whence it is 
only those who abstain from the practice of carnal generation 
who can hope to be admitted to the highest heaven 1 . All this 
is illustrated by many quotations not only from the heathen 
poets and philosophers, but also from the Pentateuch, the 
Psalms, the Jewish Prophets, and from the Canonical Gospels 
and St Paul's Epistles. 

Thee the old Assyrians [read Syrians] all 

The thrice-wept Adonis call. 

To thee for name has Egypt given 

The holy horned moon of heaven [Osiris]. 

Thou the serpent-god of Greece 

The* all reverenced Adam thou of Samothrace. 

Thee the Lydians, Phrygians thee, 

Invoke, the Corybantic deity. 

Thee Pappas now and now the dead, 

Now lifting tip reborn the god-like head. 

Unfruitful now or barren desert brown, 

Now the rich golden harvest mowing down. 

Or whom the blossoming almond-tree 

Brought forth on the free hills the piper wild to be. 

Attis, old Rhea's son I sing 

Not with the wild bell's clashing ring 

Nor Ida's fife, in whose shrill noise 

The old Curetae still rejoice ; 

But with the mingling descant sweet 

Of Phoebus' harp, so soft, so sweet, 

Evan! Evan! Pan, I call! 

Evan the wild Bacchanal: 

Or that bright Shepherd that on high 

Folds the white stars up in the silent sky. 

Quarterly M&uiew, June, 1851. 

1 iravo yap iriKpcb? KOL irl>v\ayiUva>s irapayy&\ovcriv a-rrextcrGai as 
anoKKioptJLvoL T^S 7r pof yvvaLKa ojuuXicw. " For they very strictly enjoin 
that their followers should abstain, as if they were castrated, from 
cornpanying with women," Hippolytus, op. cto. Bk v. c. 9, p. 177, Cruice. 

56 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

The connection of such a system with orthodox Christianity 
seems at first sight remote enough, but it must be remembered 
that Hippolytus was not endeavouring to explain or record 
the Ophite beliefs as a historian would have done, but to hold 
them up to ridicule and, as he describes it, to " refute " them. 
Yet there can be no doubt that the Ophites were Christians or 
followers of Christ who accepted without question the Divine 
Mission of Jesus, and held that only through Him could they 
attain salvation. The difference between them and the orthodox 
in respect to this was that salvation was not, according to 
them, offered freely to all, but was on the contrary a magical 
result following automatically upon complete initiation and 
participation in the Mysteries 1 . Texts like " Strait is the way 
and narrow is the gate that leadeth into eternal life " and " Not 
every one that saith unto me Lord, Lord, shall enter into the 
kingdom of heaven" were laid hold of by them as showing 
that complete salvation was confined to a few highly instructed 
persons, who had had the sense to acquire the knowledge of 
the nature of the Deity and of the topography of the heavenly 
places which underlay the ceremonies of the Mysteries. Such 
an one, they said after his death would be born again not with 
a fleshly but with a spiritual body and passing through the 
gate of heaven would become a god 2 . It does not follow, 
however, that those who did not obtain this perfect gnosis 
would be left, as in some later creeds, to reprobation. The 
cry of " all things in heaven, on earth, and below the earth 3 " 
that the discord of this world 4 might be made to cease, which 

1 Tovr&m, (frrjrriv, ovdci? rovrcov ran/ ^v(rrr)pt^v aKpourqs yfyovtv l ^ 

ol yvtoo-riKol T^XfLoi. ''This he (the ISfaassene writer) says signifies 
that none was a hearer of these mysteries save only the perfect Gnostics," 
Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. c. 8, p, 144, Cruice. The " this " refers to the 
text : " He that hath ears to hear, let him hear." 

2 K T&V o-cop-drcdv r&v ^oiKoiv <lvayfvvr)64vTC$ TrvcvpariKoi ov crapKLKoi 
" being born again from the earthly body, not as fleshly but as spiritual 
men " ...... Ol $ avrot^ (frrjcrt, Qpvyts rbv avrbv ird\iv tK fjitraftoX^s Xlyovtri 

0c6v* " For the Phrygians themselves declare, he says, that he who is 
ihus reborn is by reason of the change a god," Hippolytus, op. cit, Bk V. 
c. 8, pp. 166, 166, Oruied. Of. Berger, fltudes, etc. p, 27. 

8 r$>v 7rovpavi0v 
* rfjv 

vm] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 57 

the Naassene author quoted by Hippolytus daringly connects 
with, the name of Pappas given by the Phrygians to Sabazius 
or Dionysos, would one day be heard, and the Apocatastasis 
or return of the world to the Deity would then take place 1 . 
If we may judge from the later developments of the Ophite 
teaching this was to be when the last spiritual man (Trvev^arLfco^) 
or perfect G-nostic had been withdrawn from it. In the mean- 
time those less gifted would after death pass through the 
planetary worlds of laldabaoth until they arrived at his heaven 
or sphere, and would then be sent down to the earth to be 
reincarnated in other bodies. Whether those who had attained 
some knowledge of the Divine nature without arriving at 
perfect Gnosis would or would not be rewarded with some 
sort of modified beatitude or opportunity of better instruction 
is not distinctly stated, but it is probable that the Ophites 
thought that they would 2 . For just as those who have been 
admitted into the Lesser Mysteries at Bleusis ought to pause 
and then be admitted into the " great and heavenly ones/' 
the progress of the Ophite towards the Deity must be pro- 
gressive. They who participate in these heavenly mysteries, 
says the Naassene author, receive greater destinies than the 
others 3 . 

It might seem, therefore, that the Mysteries or secret rites 
of the heathens contained in themselves all that was necessary 
for redemption, and this was probably the Ophite view so 
far as the return of the universe to the bosom of the Deity 
and the consequent wiping out of the consequences of the 
unfortunate fall of Sophia or Prunicos were concerned. A 
tradition preserved by Irenaeus says that Sophia herself " when 
she had received a desire for the light above her, laid down 
the body she had received from matter which was, as we have 

1 Hippolytus, op. et loc. cit. p. 165, Cruice. 

2 The Naassene writer says that the peace preached " to those that are 
afar off " of Ephesians iL 17* refers to rols V\LKOLS KQL XOIKOIS " to the 
material and earthly," and that " to those that are near " to rots Trvcv/iart- 
Kols KOI vofpols TfXeioLs dvdp&Trois " to the spiritual and understanding 
perfect men." Hippolytus, op. et loc. cit. 

3 Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. c. 8, pp. 172, 173, Cruice, 

58 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

seen, the visible heaven and was freed from it 1 ." But this 
seems to be an addition which is not found in the Greek version, 
and is probably taken from some later developments of the 
Ophite creed. It i$ plain, however, that the whole scheme 
of nature as set forth in the opinions summarized above is 
represented as contrived for the winning-back of the light 
for which we may, if we like, read life from matter, and this 
is represented as the work of Sophia herself. The futile attempt 
of the arrogant and jealous laldabaoth to prolong his rule by 
the successive creation of world after world, of the archetypal 
or rather protoplasmic Adam, and finally of Eve, whereby the 
light is dispersed through matter more thoroughly but in ever- 
diminishing portions 2 , is turned against him by his mother 
Sophia, the beneficent ruler of the planetary worlds, who even 
converts acquaintance with the " carnal generation " which 
he has invented into a necessary preparation for the higher 
mysteries 8 . Thus Hippolytus tells us that the Naassenes 

" frequent the so-called mysteries of the Great Mother, thinking 
that through what is performed there, they see clearly the whole 
mystery. For they have no complete advantage from the things 
there performed except that they are not castrated. [Yet] they 
fully accomplish the work of the castrated [i.e. the Galli]. For 
they most strictly and carefully preach that one should abstain 

1 Cum accepisset concupiscentiam superioris luminis, et virtutem sump- 
$i$set per omnia, deposwisse corpus et liberatam ab eo. Irenaeus, Bk I. o. 28, 
p. 229, Harvey. As he goes on to say : Corpus autem hoc exuisse dicunt 
earn, foeminam a foemina nominant, it is plain that he is her referring to 
the Third or Lower Sophia who was one of the personages in th Valentinian 
drama and unknown, so far as we can tell, to the Ophites. The Latin 
translator is no doubt responsible for this confusion. 

2 That this was the object of laldabaoth in creating Eve is plain from 
Irenaeus' Latin text (Bk i. c. 28, p. 233, Harvey) : Zdantem autem lalda- 
baoth voluisse excogitare evacuare hominem per foeminam, et de $ua> fflnthy- 
mesi eduxisse foeminam, guam ilia Prunicos suscipiens invi&ibiliter evacuavit 
a virtute. He then goes on to relate the seduction of the archons which 
plays so large a part in the Enochian literature, and which is mad Sophia's 
contrivance for nullifying th command to " Increase and multiply " in 

3 r& piKpb, pva-Typta rb TTJS crapKtKTJs- yev/owr : Hippolytus, Op. tit, Bk T. 
c. 8, p. 172, Cruice. 

vin] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 59 

from all companying with woman, as do the castirated. And the 
rest of the work, as we have said at length, they perform like the 
castrated 1 ." 

So far, then, as the general scheme of the redemption of 
light from matter is concerned, there seems to have been no 
fundamental necessity in the Ophite,, view for the Mission of 
Jesus. But they assigned to Him a great and predominant 
part in hastening the execution of the scheme, and thus bringing 
about the near approach of the kingdom of heaven. We 
have seen that Sophia provided in spite of laldabaoth for the 
birth of the man Jesus from the Virgin Mary, and the Naassene 
author said that 

" into this body of Jesus there withdrew and descended things 
intellectual, and psychic, and earthly : and these three Men (i.e. 
the First Man, the Son of Man, and Christos) speak together through 
Him each from his proper substance unto those who belong to 
each 2 ." 

The Latin text of Irenaeus amplifies the statement considerably 
and says that Prunicus, as it calls Sophia, finding no rest in 
heaven or earth, invoked the aid of her mother the First Woman. 
This power, having pity on her repentance, implored the First 
Man to send Christos to her assistance. This prayer was 
granted, and Christos descended from the Pleroma to his sister 
Sophia, announced his coming through John the Baptist, 
prepared the baptism of repentance, and beforehand fashioned 
Jesus, so that when Christos came down he might find a pure 
vessel, and that by laldabaoth her own son, the " woman " 
might be announced by Christ. The author quoted by Irenaeus 
goes on to say that Christ descended through each of the seven 
heavens or planetary worlds in the likeness of its inhabitants, 
and thus took away much of their power. For the sprinkling 
of light scattered among them rushed to him, and when he 
came down into this, world he clothed his sister Sophia with 
it, and they exulted over each other, which they (the Ophites) 
" describe as the [meeting of] the bridegroom and the bride." 

1 Hippolytus, op. tit. Bk v. c. 9, p. 177, Cruice. 

2 Ibid. Bk v. c. 6, p. 140, Criiice. 

60 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH, 

But " Jesus being begotten from the Virgin by the operation 
of God was wiser, purer, and juster than all men. Christos 
united to Sophia descended into Him [on His baptism] and so 
Jesus Christ was made 1 ." 

Jesus then began to heal the sick, to announce the unknown 
Father, and to reveal Himself as the Son of the first man. 
This angered the princes of the planetary worlds and their 
progenitor, laldabaoth, who contrived that He should be killed. 
As He was being led away for this purpose, Christos with 
Sophia left Him for the incorruptible aeon 2 or highest heaven. 
Jesus was crucified ; but Christos did not forget Him and sent 
a certain power to Him, who raised Him in both a spiritual 
and psychic body, sending the worldly parts back into the world. 
After His Eesurrection, Jesus remained upon earth eighteen 
months, and perception descending into Him taught what 
was clear. These things He imparted to a few of his disciples 
whom He knew to be capable of receiving such great mysteries, 
and He was then received into heaven. Christos sate down 
at the right hand of laldabaoth that he might, unknown to 
this last, take to himself the souls of those who have known 
these mysteries, after they have put off their worldly flesh. 
Thus laldabaoth cannot in future hold holy souls that he may 
send them down again into the age [i.e. this aeon] ; but only 
those which are from his own substance, that is, which he has 

1 Irenaeus, Bk i. c. 28, 6, p. 238, Harvey. The section is given almost 
word for word as in Irenaeus ; but it is manifestly taken from some other 
source than that of the Greek text, and is inconsistent with the rest of the 
story. If the Lower Sophia or Prunicos (the Substitute) were born from the 
mere boiling over of the light shed upon her mother, of what had she to 
<c repent " ? In the Pistis Sophia, indeed, the heroine wins her way back 
to her former estate by repentance, but her fall has been occasioned by dis- 
obedience and ambition. So, too, the story about Jesus changing His form 
on His descent through the seven heavens is common to the story of Pistis 
Sophia and the legend of Simon Magus, which two it therefore connects 
(see Chapter VI, vol. i. p. 191, n. 4). It also appears in the Ascension of 
Isaiah which Mr Charles thinks may be dated about 150 A,. (see Charles, 
Ascension of Isaiah, 1900, pp. xi and 62), but which is probably of muoh 
later date. There are other features to be noted in their place common 
to the Pistis Sophia and the last named work. 

2 That is to say, that which does not perish and return to the Deity, 

vm] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 61 

himself breathed into bodies. When all the sprinkling of light 
is thus collected, it will be taken up into the incorruptible 
aeon. The return to Deity will then be complete, and matter 
will probably be destroyed. In any case, it will have lost the 
light which alone gives it life 1 . 

What rites or form of worship were practised by these 
Ophites we do not know, although Epiphanius preserves a 
story that they were in the habit of keeping a tame serpent 
in a chest which at the moment of the consecration of their 
Eucharist was released and twined itself round the con- 
secrated bread 2 . Probably the very credulous Bishop of 
Constantia was misled by some picture or amulet depicting 
a serpent with his tail in its mouth surrounding an orb or 
globe which represents the mundane egg of the Orphics. In 
this case the serpent most likely represented the external 
ocean which the ancients thought surrounded the habitable 
world like a girdle. But the story, though probably untrue, 
is some evidence that the later Ophites used, like all post- 
Christian Gnostics, to practise a ceremony resembling the 
Eucharist, and certainly administered also the rite of baptism 
which is alluded to above in the tale of the descent of Christos. 
Hippolytus also tells us that they used to sing many hymns 
to the First Man; and he gives us a "psalm" composed by 

1 Irenaeus, Bk i. c. 28, 7, pp. 238-241, Harvey. This again is given 
almost verbatim. The stay of Jesus on earth after His Resurrection, and 
His teaching His disciples " quod liquidum est," that is, without parable, 
is also told in the Pistis Sophia, but His post-Resurrection life is there 
put at 12 years. Irenaeus' Latin translator has, as has heen said, evidently 
here got hold of some later developments of Ophitism not known to his 
author at the time that the Greek text was written. Yet some tradition 
of a long interval between the Resurrection and the Ascension was evidently 
current in the sub-Apostolic age. Irenaeus himself says on the authority 
of " those who met with John the Disciple of the Lord in Asia " that Jesus' 
ministry only lasted for one year from His Baptism, He being then 30 
years old, and that He suffered on completing his 30th year ; yet that He 
taught until He was 40 or 50 years old. See Irenaeus, Bk n. c. 33, 3, 
p. 331, Harvey. Some part of this statement appears in the Greek text. 

2 Epiphanius, Haer. xxxvn. c. 5, p. 502, Oehler. Epiphanius, although 
generally untrustworthy, had been, as M. de Paye reminds us, a Nicolaitan 
in his youth. See de Faye, Introd. p. 116. 

62 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

them which, as he thinks, tc comprehends all the mysteries 
of their error 1 ." Unfortunately in the one text of the Philo- 
sophumena which we have., it is given in so corrupt a form 
that the first German editor declared it to be incapable of 
restoration. It may perhaps b,e translated thus : 

The generic law of the Whole was the first Intelligence of all 
The second [creation ?] was the poured-f orth Chaos of the First-born 
And the third and labouring soul obtains the law as her portion 

Wherefore clothed in watery form [Behold] 

The loved one subject to toil [and] death 

Now, having lordship, she beholds the Light 

Then cast forth to piteous state, she weeps. 

Now she weeps and now rejoices 

Now she weeps and now is judged 

Now she is judged and now IB dying 

Now no outlet is found, the unhappy one 

Into the labyrinth of woes has wandered. 

But Jesus said : Father, behold ! 

A strife of woes upon earth 

From thy spirit has fallen 

But he [i.e. man ?] seeks to fly the malignant chaos 

And knows not how to break it up. 

For his sake, send me, Father ; 

Having the seals, I will go down 

Through entire aeons I will pass, 

All mysteries I will open 

And the forms of the gods I will display, 

The secrets of the holy Way 

Called knowledge [Gnosis], I will hand down. 

It is probable that this psalm really did once contain a 
summary of the essential parts of the Ophite teaching. In 
whatever way we may construe the first three lines, which 
were probably misunderstood by the scribe of the text before us, 
there can hardly be a doubt that they disclose a triad of three 
powers engaged in the work of salvation 2 . The fall of Sophia 

1 Hippolytus, 02?. ciL Bk v. c. 10, pp. 182-184, Craioe. 

2 Cruice, o$^ et toe. cit. p. 152, n, 3, remarks that the Supreme Triad 
here shown is rb voeptiv, r<i> ^otWy, rb ^v^KcJv *' the intellectual, the 
earthly, and the psychic or animal." This may be; but there is no 

YIII] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 63 

seems also to be alluded to in unmistakable terms, while the 
Mission of Jesus concludes the poem. Jesus, not here dis- 
tinguished from the Christos or Heavenly Messenger of the 
Trinity, is described as sent to the earth for the purpose of 
bringing hither certain " mysteries " which will put man on 
the sacred path of G-nosis and thus bring about the redemption 
of his heavenly part from the bonds of matter. These " mys- 
teries " were, as appears in Hippolytus and elsewhere, sacra- 
ments comprising baptism, unction, and a ceremony at least 
outwardly resembling the Christian Eucharist or Lord's Supper 1 . 
These had the magical effect, already attributed by the Orphics 
to their own homophagous feast, of changing the recipient's 
place in the scale of being and transforming him ipso facto 
into something higher than man. That the celebration of 
these mysteries was attended with the deepest secrecy accounts 
at once for their being nowhere described in detail by Hippo- 
lytus' Ophite author, and also for the stories which were current 
among all the heresiological writers of filthy and obscene rites 2 . 
Fortified by these mysteries, and by the abstinences and the 
continence which they entailed at all events theoretically, 
and as a counsel of perfection the Ophite could attend, as 
we have seen, all the ceremonies of the still pagan Anatolians 
or of the Christian Church indifferently, conscious that he alone 
understood the inner meaning of either. 

Another practice of the Ophites has accidentally come 
down to us which deserves some mention. The division of 
the universe into three parts, i.e. angelic, psychic, and earthly, 
which we have already seen in germ in the system of Simon 

proof that the Ophites ever gave Chaos or unformed Matter a place 
in it, or made it the next principle to their Supreme Being. Probably 
for the supposed " Chaos " in the second line of the Psalm should be 
substituted some words like " the projected Thought " of the Father. 
Miller has some curious remarks quoted in the same note on the metre of 
the Psalm, which he points out is the same as in a poem of Lucian's, and in 
the hymns of Synesius, Bishop of Ptolemais, already mentioned. 

1 Hippolytus, op. tit. Bk v. c. 7, p. 148 ; ibid. c. 9, p. 181, Cruice. They 
probably resembled the ceremonies described at length in the Pistis Sophia 
and the Bruce Papyrus. See Chapter X, infra. 

2 See p. 18 supra. 

64 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

Magus, was by the Ophites carried so much further than by him 
that it extended through the whole of nature, and seriously 
affected their scheme of redemption. Father Giraud, as we have 
seen, goes so far as to say that in the opinion of Naassenes, 
matter hardly existed, and that they thought that not only did 
Adamas, or the first man, enter into all things, but that in their 
opinion all things were contained within him 1 . This pantheistic 
doctrine may have been current in Phrygia and traces of it 
may perhaps be found in the Anatolian worship of nature ; 
but the words of the Naassene psalm quoted above show that 
the Naassenes, like all the post-Christian Gnostics of whom we 
know anything,^thought^th^, matter,, not only-liad aa mda-,, 
pendent existence, but was essentially malignant and opposed 
to God. They divided, as we have seen, the universe which 
came forth from Him into three parts of which the angelic, 
noetic, or pneumatic included, apparently, nothing but the 
Pleroma or Fulness of the Godhead consisting of the Trinity 
of Father, Son and Mother with their messenger Christos. 
Then followed the second, psychic, or planetary world, containing 
the heaven of Sophia with beneath it the holy hebdomad or 
seven worlds of laldabaoth and his descendants 2 . Below this 
came, indeed, the choic, earthly, or terrestrial world, containing 
some sparks of the light bestowed upon it consciously by Sophia 
and unconsciously by laldabaoth, and inhabited by mortal 
men. But this world was the worst example of the " discord " 
or as it was called later, the " confusion" 
), caused by the mingling of light with matter, and 
as such was doomed to extinction and to eternal separation from 
the Divine 3 . In like manner, the soul of man consisted of three 

1 Giraud, op. cit. p. 95. 

2 Sanctam autena hebdomadam septem Stellas, quas dicunt planetas, 
esse volunt. trenaeus, Bk I. c. 28, 5, p. 236, Harvey. 

8 Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. o. 8, p. 159, Cruice, says that the u nothing *' 
said in John i 3, 4 to have been made without the Word is in fact this 
world. Td ^ "oti&fr," fc^wpk abrov ytyovtv, 6 K(Jcr/xo? IIKQ? foriv yfyovev 
y&p xnplf abrov virh rplrav /cat rfrdprov. "But the * nothing * which came into 
being without Him is the world of form ; for it came into being without 
Him by the Third and Fourth " these last being evidently Sophia and 
Jaldabaoth respectively. 

YIII] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 65 

parts corresponding to the three worlds, that is to say, the 
pneumatic, psychic, and earthly ; and of these three, the last 
was doomed to extinction. Only by laying aside his earthly 
part as Jesus had done and becoming entirely pneumatic, could 
$a&n attain to the light and become united with the Godhead. 
But to So so, his soul must first pass from choic to psychic and 
thence to pneumatic, or, as the Naassene author quoted by 
Hippolytus puts it, must be born again and must enter in at 
the gate of heaven 1 . 

This rebirth or passage of the soul from the choic to the 
psychic, and thence to the pneumatic, was, as has been said, 
the work of the mysteries, especially of those new ones which 
the Ophite Jesus or Christos had brought to earth with Him 
from above. The process by which these " changes of the 
soul " were brought about was, according to the Naassenes, 
" set forth in the Gospel according to the Egyptians 2 ," The 
only quotation pertinent to the matter which we have from 
this lost work is one preserved for us by Clement of Alexandria 
which refers to the coining of a heavenly age " when the two 
shall be made one, and the male with the female neither male 
nor female 3 " a saying which seems to refer to the time when 
all the light now scattered among the lower worlds shall return 
to the androgyne Adamas from whom it once issued. But it 
is probable that this gospel only described the upward passage 
of the soul in figures and parables probably conveyed in texts 
of the Canonical Gospel divorced from their context and their 
natural meaning, as in the Naassene author quoted by Hippo- 
lytus. Such a gospel might be a sufficient means of instruction 

1 Ou dvvarat ot5v, <pr)<rt.) (rto&ijvai 6 reXciof av&pto-jros, eav JUT) dvayfvvrj&f} 
Bia ravrrjs ei<reX0o>v r^s rrv\rjs. " The perfect [or initiated] man, he says, 
therefore cannot be saved unless he be born again, entering in through 
this gate." Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. c, 8, p. 165, Cruice. 

2 Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. c. 7, p. 144, Cruice. 

8 Clem. Alex. Strom. Bk m. c. 13, and n. 2, p. 196, Chapter VI, vol. i. 
The OVTC appv ovre drfku of this passage and of Clement's Second Epistle to 
the Romans (Hilgenfeld, N*T. extra canon, pt i, p. 79) is compared by 
the Naassene author (Hipp. o#. cit Bk v. c. 7, p. 146, Cruice) with the 
emasculation of Attis, which is made a type of the soul " passing from the 
material parts of the lower creation to the eternal substance above." 

L. n. 5 

66 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

for the living, who could puzzle out its meaning with the help 
of their mystagogues or priests 1 ; but it must always have 
been difficult for the best-instructed to remember the great 
complications of worlds, planets, and celestial powers that lay 
at the root of it. How difficult then must it have been thought 
for the disembodied soul to find its way through the celestial 
places, and to confront the " guardians of the gate " of each 
with proof of his exalted rank in the scale of being ? What 
was wanted was some guide or clue that the dead could take 
with him like the Book of the Dead of the ancient Egyptians, 
some memory or survival of which had evidently come down 
to the Alexandrian worship 2 , or like the gold plates which we 
have seen fulfilling the same office among the worshippers of 
the Orphic gods 3 . 

That the Ophites possessed such documents we have proof 
from the remarks of the Epicurean Celsus, who may have 
flourished in the reign of Hadrian (A.D. 117-138) 4 , In his 
attack on Christianity called The True Discourse, he charges 
the Christians generally with possessing a " diagram " in which 
the passage of the soul after death through the seven heavens 
is portrayed. Origen, in refuting this Epicurean's arguments 
more than a century later, denies that the Church knew anything 
of such a diagram, and transfers the responsibility for it to 
what he calls " a very insignificant sect called Ophites 5 ." He 

1 The Naassenes had priests. Oi olv lepcis /cat rrpofrrarat rov 
yeyei'7?j/rai Trpcorot ol f7rLK\rj&VT$ Naa<ra"r)voL " Th0 priests 8/nd chiefs of th 

doctrine have been the first who wore called Naassenes." Hippolytus, 
op. cit. Bk v. c. 6, p. 139, Cruioe. Of. also p. 77^ infra. 

2 As we have seen, Aelius Aristides says the devotees of the Alexandrian 
gods used to bury holy books in their tombs. See Chapter II, voL t 
P. 60, supra. 

s See Chapter IV, supra. 

4 I have taken the earliest date for which there is any probability, 
because it was in Hadrian's time that most of the great Gnostics taught, 
and their speculations would therefore have been most likely to oome to 
heathen ears. Keim, OeUua Wahres Wort, Zurich, 1873, however, makes 
the date of the book 177-178 A.D., and this seems supported by the latest 
critics. See Patrick, Apology of Origen, 1892, p. 9, where tho question is 
thoroughly examined. 

5 Origen, cont, Cels. Bk vr. c, 24. 

vin] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 67 

further says that he has himself seen this diagram and he 
gives a detailed description of it sufficient to enable certain 
modern writers to hazard a guess as to what it must have looked 
like 1 . It seems to have been chiefly composed of circles, those 
in the uppermost part which Celsus says were those * e above 
the heavens " being two sets of pairs. Each pair consisted 
of two concentric circles, one pair being inscribed, according 
to Origen, Father-and-Son, and according to Celsus, " a greater 
and a less" which Origen declares means the same thing 2 . By 
the side of this was the other pair, the outer circle here being 
coloured yellow and the inner blue ; while between the two 
pairs was a barrier drawn in the form of a double-bladed axe 3 . 

3 See Matter, Histoire du Gnosticisme, Paris, 1843, PL III, and Giraud, 
op. cit. PL facing p. 238. 

2 Origen, cont. Gels. Bk vi. c. 38. The fact is significant as showing 
that the Ophites considered the Son as contained within the Father. 

3 eViyeypa/ificvov Sia^pa-ypu TreXcKOietSel cr^^ftart, Origen, op. et loc. cit. 

The 7T\Kvs or double-bladed axe was the symbol of Zeus Labrandos 
of Caria,, and is often met with on the coins of Asia Minor, while it seems to 
have played a prominent part in the worship of Minoan Crete and in 
Mycenae. See Arthur Evans, Mycenaean Tree and Pillar Cult, 1901, 
pp. 8-12. Ramsay, Cities, etc., i. c. 91, thinks that Savazos or Sabazios 
was called in Phrygia Lairbenos, which may be connected with the word 
Labrys said to be the name of the double axe. He found a god with this 
weapon worshipped together with Demeter or Cybele in the Milyan country, 
op. cit. pp. 263, 264, and he thinks the pair appear under the different 
names of Leto, Artemis, Cybele, and Demeter on the one hand, and Apollo, 
Lairbenos, Sabazios, Men, and Attis on the other throughout Asia Minor. 
He points out, however, that they were only the male and female aspects of a 
single divinity (op. cit. 93, 94). Is it possible that tliis is the explanation 
of the double axe as a divine symbol ? The axe with one blade was the 
ordinary Egyptian word-sign for a god (see P.S.B.A. 1899, pp. 310, 311) 
and the double axe might easily mean a god with a double nature. If 
this idea were at all prevalent in Anatolia at the beginning of our era, it 
would explain Simon Magus' mysterious allusion to the flaming sword of 
Genesis iii. 24, " which turns both ways to guard the Tree of Life," and is 
somehow connected with the division of mankind into sexes. See Hip- 
polytus, op. cit. Bk vx c. 17, p. 260, Crctice. A very obscure Coptic text 
which its discoverer, M. de Mely, calls " Le Livre des Cyranides " (0. E. de 
VAcad. des Inscriptions, Mai-Juin, 1904, p. 340) gives a hymn to the 
vine said to be sung in the Mysteries of Bacchus in which the " mystery of 
the axe " is mentioned. 


68 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

"Above this last" Origen says " was a smaller circle inscribed 
'Love,' and below it another touching it with the word * Life.' And 
on the second circle, which was intertwined with and included two 
other circles, another figure like a rhomboid ' The Forethought of 
Sophia.' And within their (?) point of common section was c the 
Nature of Sophia.' And above their point of common section was 
a circle, on which was inscribed c Knowledge,' and lower down 
another on which was the inscription 'Comprehension 1 .'" 

There is also reference made by Origen to " The Gates of 
Paradise/' and a flaming sword depicted as the diameter of 
a flaming circle and guarding the tree of knowledge and of life ; 
but nothing is said of their respective places in the diagram. 

Jacques Matter, whose Hiskoire Gntique du Onosticisme 
appeared in 1843, without its author having the benefit of 
becoming acquainted with Hippolytus' PMlosophumena, which 
tells us so much as to the doctrines of the Naassenes or early 
Ophites, and Father Giraud, who has on the contrary drawn 
largely from it, and whose dissertation on the Ophites was 
published in 1884, have both given pictorial representations 
of the Ophite diagram. Although they differ somewhat in 
the arrangement of the circles, both are agreed that the blue 
and yellow circles signify the Holy Spirit and Christos. The 
Pleroma or Fulness of the Godhead consisting of Father, Son 
and Holy Spirit, with the Christos their messenger, therefore 
seems figured in these two pairs of circles. Both Matter and 
Father Giraud also arrange four other circles labelled respec- 
tively Knowledge, Nature, Wisdom, and Comprehension (rVc3<ri9, 
<E>i5<n9, 2o<&, and Svz/e<9) within one large one with a border 
of intertwined lines which they call the Forethought of Sophia 
(Ttpovoia 2o$/a9). This may be the correct rendering, but 
it is hardly warranted by Origen's words given above, nor do 
we know of any powers, aeons, or other entities in the Ophite 
system called Gnosis or Physis 2 , In any event, however, it 

1 Origen, op. d loc, cit. The names of the circles, etc,, in the original 
are from above downwards ; *Aydirr), Zo5, npoyota 2o^>/a$,', rv&crt?) 25o$i'a, 
$tm$ 9 and Suvecrt?. 

2 Gnosis does appear in the Naassene Psalm given in this Chapter, but 
only as the name of the " Holy Way." 

vm] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 69 

is fairly clear that this part of the diagram represents the 
Sophia who fell from the Holy Spirit into matter, and that 
her natural or first place should be the heaven stretched out 
above the seven planetary worlds. Yet Irenaeus tells us that 
the Ophites he describes thought that Sophia succeeded finally 
in struggling free from the body of matter and that the super- 
planetary firmament represented merely the lifeless shell she 
had abandoned 1 . This is, perhaps, the view taken by the 
framers of the diagram. 

However that may be, Origen's discourse agrees with Celsus 
in describing a " thick black line marked Gehenna or Tartarus " 
which cuts, as he says, the diagram in two. This is specially 
described by Celsus ; and if it surprises anyone to find it thus 
placed above the planetary heavens, it can only be said that 
later Gnostics, including those who are responsible for the 
principal documents of the Pistis Sophia to be presently men- 
tioned, put one of the places where souls were tortured in 
" the 'Middle Way " which seems above, and not, like the 
classical Tartarus, below the earth 2 . Below this again, come 
the seven spheres of the planets dignified by the names of 
Horaios, Ailoaios, Astaphaios, Sabaoth, lao, laldabaoth and 
Adonai respectively. These names are, indeed, those given 
in Irenaeus as the names of the descendants of Sophia, although 
the order there given is different. As to the meaning of them, 
Origen declares that laldabaoth, Horaios, and Astaphaios are 
taken from magic and that the others are (the Hebrew) names 
of God 3 . But it should be noticed that Origen. is in this place 
silent as to their situation in the diagram, and that those assigned 

1 See n. 1, p. 58 supra. 

2 In this it is following strictly the tradition of the EnocMan literature. 
" And we ascended to the firmament, I and he, and there I saw Sammael 
and his hosts, and there was great fighting therein and the angels of Satan 
were envying one another." Charles, Ascension of Isaiah, c. vn. v. 9, p. 48 
and Editor's notes for other references. 

3 Origen, cont. Gels. Bk vi. c. 32. Horaios is probably connected with 
the root TIK " light " ; Astaphaios appears in the earliest texts as Astan- 
pheus which may be an anagram for crre^avos " crown." Or it may be 
rOtOKTl ** inundation " which would agree with Origen's statement as 
to this being the principle of water, for which see p. 73 infra. 

70 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

to them in Matter's and Father Giraud's reconstructions are 
taken from the prayers or " defences " which will be given 
independently of it. 

The division which Matter calls " Atmosphere terrestre " and 
Father Giraud "The Fence of Wickedness " (<$>pay/j,b$ Kafeias) 
is also not to be foimd in Origen's description of the diagram, 
but is taken from another passage where he defines it as the 
gates leading to the aeon of the archons 1 . The remaining 
sphere, containing within itself ten circles in Matter's recon- 
struction and seven in Father Giraud's, is however fully de- 
scribed. The number ten is, as Matter himself admitted to be 
probable, a mistake of the copyist for seven 2 , and there can 
be no doubt that the larger sphere is supposed to represent 
our world. The word " Leviathan " which in accordance with 
Origen's description is written both at the circumference and 
at the centre of the circle 8 is evidently Ophiomorphus or the 
serpent-formed son of laldabaoth whom we have seen cast 
down to earth by his father together with the protoplasts 
Adam and Eve 4 . He should according to the later Gnostics 
be represented in the shape of a " dragon " or serpent coiled 
round the world and having his tail in his mouth, while the 
seven circles within the ring thus formed are the seven Archons 
or ruling spirits created by him in imitation of laldabaoth. 
These are represented in beast-like form and are, as we have 
seen, hostile to man, The first four have the Hebrew angelic 
names of Michael, Suriel, Raphael, and Gabriel, perhaps because 

1 Op. cit. Bk vi. c. 31. 

2 Unless we take the ten circles as including the three gates of Horaios, 
Ailoaios, and Astaphaios. In this case, Jaldabaoth and his first three sons 
would alone form the higher part of the planetary world. This is unlikely, 
but if it were so, there would be*an additional reason for calling Jaldabaoth, 
as does Irenaeus, a " fourth number." Theodore Bar Kh6ni, who wrote in 
the vinth century (see Chapter XIII, infra) 9 in his notice of the Ophites 
gives the number of these heavens aa ten. See Pognon, Coupes de 
Khouabir, Paris, 1898, p. 213. 

a Vi rov KVK\OV Kai rov xlvrpov avrov Karcypatyf, Origen, op. Clt. Bk YL 
c. 25. 

4 Origen says, loc. cit., that Leviathan is Hebrew for " Dragon." Of, 
Ps. civ. 26. 

vm] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 71 

the four planetary worlds to which they correspond bear also 
Hebrew names of God 1 . The remaining three Thauthabaoth, 
Erataoth, and Thartharaoth are probably taken from the pecu- 
liar corruption of Hebrew and Egyptian words to be found in 
the Magic Papyri. Some of them, at any rate, we meet again 
later. The word Behemoth which appears at the foot of the 
diagram may be translated " animals 2 ." It may either be a 
further description of the seven Archons as seems most likely 
or be taken in its etymological sense as the animal kingdom 
which in the scale of being succeeds terrestrial man. 

To this diagram, Origen adds the prayers or defences above 
alluded to, which he draws from some source not mentioned. 
He calls them the " instruction " which they (i.e. the Ophites) 
receive after passing through the " fence of wickedness, gates 
which are subjected to the world of the Archons 3 " ; but we 
know from other sources that they are the speeches, " defences " 
or passwords required to be uttered by the soul of the initiated 
when, released from this world by death, she flies upwards 
through the planetary spheres 4 . As they contain many in- 
structive allusions, they can best be given in Origen's own 
words, at the same time remarking that the reading is not in 
all cases very well settled. The first power through whose 
realm the soul had to pass is not here mentioned by name, 

1 That is to say : Jaldabaoth ; lao, which is probably one of the many 
attempts to represent in Greek the Tetragrammaton niPl* called in English 
Jehovah; Ailoaios or Eloaios, the singular of the well-known plural 
name of God in Genesis DTVpK " Elohim " ; and Adonai, *n& "the 
Lord," which in many parts of the O.T. replaces the Tetragrammaton. 
Harvey, however, op. oil. p. 33, n. 3, thinks lao may simply represent the 
initial of the name of Yahweh coupled with Alpha and Omega to show His 
eternal nature. He connects this with " I am the first and the last " of 
Isaiah xliv. 6, and Rev. i. 11. Yet the later Greeks called Dionysos lao. 
See the (probably spurious) oracle of Apollo Clarius quoted by Macrobius, 
Saturnalia, Bk I. c. 18, IT. 19 sgq. 

2 Giraud, op. tit. p. 230. 

3 TrvXas apxovrav td&vt defrepevas: Origen, cont. Cels. Bk VI. c. 31. 
Perhaps we should read fc^o/tewc, " Gates which belong to the age of the 
Archons," i.e. while their rule lasts, 

* See the quotation from the Gospel of Philip later in this chapter, 
p. 79, infra. 

72 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

but by the process of exhaustion is plainly the one whom 
Irenaeus calls Adonaeus or Adonai. 
To him the soul of the dead is to say : 

" I salute the one-formed king, the bond of blindness, boundless 
oblivion, the first power preserved by the spirit of Pronoia and by 
Sophia ; whence I am sent forth pure, being akeady part of the light 
of the Son and of the Father. Let grace be with me, Father, 
yea let it be with me 1 ! " 

In passing through the next mentioned, which is the realm of 
laldabaoth : 

" Thou First and Seventh, born to command with boldness, 
laldabaoth the Ruler (Archon) who hast the word of pure Mind 
(vo<), a perfect work to the Son and the Father, I bring the symbol 
of life in the impress of a type, and open the door to the world which 
in thy aeon thou didst close, and pass again free through thy realm. 
Let grace be with me, Father, yea let it be with me 2 ! " 

Arrived at lao, he ought to say : 

" Thou, Second lao and first lord of death, who dost rule over 
the hidden mysteries of the Son and the Father, who dost shine 
by night, part of the guiltless one. I bear my own beard as a symbol 
and am ready to pass through thy rule, having been strengthened 
by that which was born from thee by the living word. Let grace 
be with me, Father, yea let it be with me 3 ! " 

3 This appears to be the sphere of the Sun to which the epithet /zovo- 
rpoTTov " one-formed " is not inappropriate. Why he should be called 
dfa-jJiov d@\^tas " bond of blindness," and Xrjdrjv arrepio-KeTrrov " thought- 
less oblivion," does not appear. Trpoo-nyi/ dvvapiv Trvevpart, irpovoias KOL 
a-ofyia Trjpov]jLvr]v " the first power preserved," etc. coincides curiously 
with what is said in the Pistis Sophia as to the Ship of the Sun and the 
" Virgin of Light." 

2 This seems to be the sphere of Saturn, the furthest or 7th reckoning 
from the earth and therefore according to the astronomy of the time the 
nearest to the upper heavens. Was the symbol of life the Egyptian 5 
or ankh ? It was of course the jealous Jaldabaoth's or laldabaoth's wish 
that no human souls should penetrate beyond his realm. 

3 So the Pistis Sophia speaks repeatedly of the "Little lao the Good." 
This should be the sphere of the Moon. In the hymn to Attis given in 
this chapter, see n. 6, p. 54 supra, Attis-Dionysos-Osiris is identified with 
" the holy horned moon of heaven." and the name lao may be connected 

vm] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 73 

To Sabaoth : 

" Euler of the Fifth realm, King Sabaoth, advocate of the law of 
thy creation. I am freed by grace of a mightier Pentad. Admit 
me, when thou beholdest the blameless symbol of thy art preserved 
by the likeness of a type, a body set free by a pentad. Let grace 
be with me, Father, yea let it be with me 1 1 " 

To Astaphaios : 

"0 Astaphaios, Euler of the third gate, overseer of the first 
principle of water, behold me an initiate, admit me who have been 
purified by the spirit of a virgin, thou who seest the substance of 
the Cosmos. Let grace be with me, Father, yea let it be with me 2 !" 

To Ailoaios : 

" Ailoaios, ruler of the second gate, admit me who brings to thee 
the symbol of thy mother, a grace hidden from the powers of the 

with the Coptic io ioh or " moon." He may be called the 
deo-TroTTis QCLVCLTQV " first lord of death," because Osiris, like Dionysos, was 
the first to return to life after being torn in pieces. The tyepav fjSri ryv 
Idiav crvfjifioXov " bearing my own beard as a symbol " seems to refer to 
the attitude of the Egyptian dead, who is represented as holding his beard 
in his right hand when introduced into the presence of Osiris. See Budge, 
Book of the Dead, 1898 (translation volume), frontispiece, or Papyrus of 
Ani f ibi cit. 

1 This may be the sphere of Jupiter, who in one of the later documents 
o the Pistis Sophia is made ruler of the five planets. Sabaoth is prob- 
ably the Divine Name ni&QV "[Lord of] Hosts" which the Greeks 
took for a proper name. It, like lao, appears often in the later documents. 
The TTCVTCLS dwartorepa "mightier Pentad" may refer to the Three 
Men (Adamas, his son, and Christos), and the Two Women (the First 
Woman and Sophia) placed at the head of the universe by the Ophites. 

2 This should be the sphere of Mercury, the messenger of the gods 
and leader of souls, who, unlike the higher powers, sees the earth from 
anigh and without veils. The irapBlvo-u Trvtvpa " spirit of a Virgin " may 
be the Virgin of Light of the Pistis Sophia, who plays such an important 
part in the redemption of souls. Hippolytus' Naassene writer (Hipp. 
op. oil. Bk v. c. 9, p. 181, Cruice) speaks of Jesus as the true gate and talks 
in this connection of "Life-giving water" and of "we Christians celebrating 
the mystery in the third gate" an allusion which is unintelligible at 
present, unless it refers to the waters of baptism. 

74 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

authorities. Let grace be with me, Father, yea let it be with 
me 1 ! " 

and to Horaios : 

" Horaios, who didst fearlessly overleap the fence of fire receiving 
the rulership of the first gate, admit me when thou beholdest the 
symbol of thy power, engraved on the type of the Tree of Life, 
and formed by resemblance in the likeness of the Guiltless One. 
Let grace be with me, Father, yea let it be with me 2 ! " 

These defences have evidently got out of their proper order, 
and have probably been a good deal corrupted as well 3 . But 
their form and general purport are mostly intelligible and show 
undoubted signs of Egyptian origin. They were therefore 
probably not the work of the earlier Ophites or Naassenes, 
but were most likely introduced when the Ophite doctrines 
began to leave their primitive seat in Phrygia and to spread 
westward into North. Africa and the south-east of Europe. 
The diagram itself seems to be fairly expressive of the more 
ancient teaching and in particular the division of all things 

1 The sphere of Venus ? The planet is said in one of the later docu- 
ments of the Pistis Sophia to be ruled by a power from " Pistis Sophia, 
the daughter of Barbelo," another name for the material antitype of the 
heavenly Sophia or Mother of Life, whom we shall meet with later. 

* The sphere of Mars ? No allusion is made else whore to the tfrpaypbv 
iTvpbs " fence of fire " ; but we do of course often hear of an empyrean 
or heaven of fire stretching over the earth. The fo)f)? t'Xoi> is, 
according to both Origen and Gelsus, the Cross ; Origen, op. cit, Bk vi. 
,cc. 34, 37. 

s The proper order would appear to be : 

(1) Horaios <J the guardian of the First Gate, i.e. that of Fire. 

(2) Ailoaios $ the guardian of the Second Gate, i.e. that of Air, 

(3) Astaphaios tj the guardian of the Third Gate, i.e. that of Water. 
Above these we have (4) Adonai the the first power as distinguished 

from mere porters or guardians of gates, (5) lao the }) called in the password 
the second, and (6) and (7) Sabaoth 11 and Jaldabaoth *l above all. This 
would about correspond with the astronomy of the time, which tried to 
put the sun in the centre of our system. But the relative places of Sabaoth, 
Jaldabaoth, and Ailoaios are very uncertain, and Epiphanws in describing 
the Ophite sect whom he calls " Gnostics " says that some wished to make 
laldabaoth occupy the 6th heaven, and others Ailoaios, called by him 
Elilaios, while giving the 7th to Sabaoth. Epiph. Ha&r. aocvi. c. 10, p. 174, 

vm] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 75 

below the Godhead into three parts. Thus we find in it the 
" middle space " or heaven of Sophia, itself perhaps the Paradise 
whence the protoplasts and Ophiomorphus were hurled, then 
the world of seven planets, and finally this earth under the 
government of Ophiomorphus' seven angels. To judge from 
Origen's remark that " they say there is a sympathy (o-v/iTrdQeia) 
between the "Star Phaenon (i.e. Saturn) and the lion-like power 
(Michael) 1 ," it is probable that the Ophites, like the Babylonian 
astrologers, looked upon the system of " correspondences," as 
it was afterwards called, as running through all nature in such 
a way that every world and every power inhabiting it was a 
reflection of the one above it 2 . That each world according 
to the Naassenes contained a " Church " or assembly of souls 3 
is stated in the text quoted above, the " Captive " Church 
there mentioned being evidently composed of the souls still 
held in the grip of matter, the " Called " of those who had 
passed into the planetary worlds, and the " Chosen " of those 
who were purified enough to be admitted into the middle space 
or Paradise of Sophia 4 . That these last were thought to be 
eventually united with the Deity appears in some later deve- 
lopments of the Ophite faith, but the doctrine seems also to 
have been known to the Naassenes, since the author quoted 
by Hippolytus speaks of " the perfect gnostics " becoming 

1 Origen, cont. CeU. Bk vi. c. 31. If "^ corresponds to Michael and also 
to Jaldabaoth, If ought to do the like to Suriel and lao, $ to Sabaoth 
(which would be appropriate enough) and to Raphael, the sun to Adonai 
and Gabriel, and so on. No system of correspondences, however, can be 
devised that does not break down on scrutiny. Sammael, which is here 
Michael's other name, is used in the Ascensio Isaiae (see Charles, Ascension 
of Isaiah, p. 6) as a name of Satan. But it may well be that good and bad 
spirits occupying corresponding places in the universe were sometimes called 
by the same names. So one of the documents of the Pistes Sophia speaks 
of an angel cryptically named Zarazaz " who is called by the demons after 
a strong demon of their own place, Maskelli" : Pistis Sophia, p. 370, Copt. 

2 Though Babylonian in origin it must early have found its way into 
Egypt. See Maspero, St. ISgyptoL n. p. 385 and Chapter VI, supra, vol. i. 
p. 183 and n. 3. 

3 Soul, perhaps, does not here mean anything more than animating 
principle, spark, or breath of Hie. 

4 See p. 42, supra. 

76 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

" kingless " (that is, subject to no other being) and as appointed 
to ct share in the PleromaV 

Of the amount of success which the speculations of the 
Ophites enjoyed we know very little. Origen, as we have seen, 
speaks of them as being in his day u an insignificant sect " ; 
and we have no proof that their numbers were ever very large 2 . 
Father Giraud asserts on the faith of some of the smaller 
heresiologists and Conciliar Acts that they spread over the 
whole of Asia Minor, through Syria and Palestine into Egypt 
on the one hand, and, on the other, to Mesopotamia, Armenia, 
and even to India, and this is probably more or less correct 3 . 
But those who had actually read their writings, as Irenaeus 
and Hippolytus evidently had done, seem to have looked upon 
them more as the source of many later heresies than as for- 
midable by their own numbers. Whether the Sethians with 
whom Irenaeus would identify them were really a subdivision 
of the Ophite sect may be doubted, because in Hippolytus' 
account of the Sethian doctrines, the existence of Jesus is never 
mentioned or referred to, and there is some reason for thinking 
them a non-Christian sect 4 . But the heresies of the Peratae 

1 . . .rov? reAe/fluff dfta<n\VTOv$ -yei'eV$rtt Kal fifrarr^fU' ro 
Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. c. 8, p. 168, Cruice, See also tho same expression 
in n. 3, p. 41, supra. 

2 Origan's testimony on this point can be tho better relied on, because 
his good faith, unlike that of writers like Epiphanius, is above suspicion. 
Ho and Clement of Alexandria are the only two writern on Gnosticism 
among tho Fathers to whom M. de Faye (Introd. p. 1) will allow " intelli- 
gence " and u impartialit6." 

3 Ho gives, op. cit. p. 79, a map showing their chief seats from the head 
of the Persian Gulf on the one hand to Crete and the Adriatic on the other, 

4 In the Bruce Papyrus mentioned in Chapter X, there is much said about 
agodcalledSitheus,so that it is by no means certain that the Both after whom 
they were named was the patriarch of Genesis. He might bo the Egyptian 
Set, whose name is transliterated in the Magic Papyri as SrfiQ. His 
appearance in Egypt first as the brother and then as the enemy of Osiris 
has never been fully accounted for. See "The Legend of Osiris," P,S*B,A. 
for 1911, pp. 145 sqq, Epiphanius' attempt in the Pananon (Ha&r. xxxix, 
c. 3, p. 524, Oehler ) to connect the genealogy of Jesus with the Seth of Genesis 
is not even said to depend on the doctrines of the sect, and th whole chapter 
roads like an interpolation. Cf. Friedlander, Vorchri&liche jttdiwht 
ticismua, G5ttingen, 1898, p. 25. 

vm] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 77 

and of Justinus, which Hippolytus describes as not differing 
much from the Ophites, certainly resemble that which has been 
summarized above too closely for the resemblance to be acci- 
dental ; while the same remark applies to those of the Bar- 
beliotae and Cainites described by Irenaeus, and to the Gnostics, 
Archontics, and others of whom we read in Epiphanius 5 Panarion. 
Most of these sects seem to have flourished on the Eastern or 
Asiatic outskirts of the Eoman Empire, although some of them 
probably had settlements also in Egypt, Greece, Crete, and 
Gyrene. As the first Ophites had contrived to make an amalgam 
of the fervent and hysterical worship of nature in Anatolia with 
the Jewish and Christian tenets, so no doubt these daughter 
sects contrived to fit in with them the legends of the local cults 
among which they found themselves. But such compromises 
were not likely to last long when the Catholic Church began 
to define and enforce the orthodox faith, and the Ophites seem 
to have been one of the first to succumb. In the vth century 
A.D., there were still Ophite "colleges" to be found in the 
province of Bithynia ; for Theocritus and Evander, the bishops 
of Chalcedon and Nicomedia, " refuted " their leaders publicly 
with such effect, says Praedestinatus, that they afterwards 
broke into their " secret places " at the head of a furious mob, 
drove away their priests, killed the sacred serpents, and " de- 
livered the people from that danger 1 ." This is the last that 
we hear of them as an organized sect, and although Justinian 
in A.D. 530 thought right to include them by name in his law 
against heretics, it is probable that by then their opinions had 
long since passed into other forms 2 . 

Probably one of the first changes to take place in the 
Ophite faith was the withdrawal into the background of the 
serpent worship which respect for the ancient cults of 
Asia Minor had imposed upon the earlier members of the sect. 
In the diagram, Ophiomorphus does not seem to have l>een 
depicted in his proper shape, although he may perhaps be 
identified with the Leviathan there ^shown as surrounding 
the terrestrial world. Those Ophites^who^wished to obtain 

1 Praedestinatus, de Haeresibus, Bk i. c. 17, p. 237, Oehler. 

2 Matter, Hist, du Gnost. t. n. p. 176. 

78 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites [OH. 

proselytes among Christian catechumens no doubt felt the 
advisability of not insisting upon this conception, inasmuch as 
" the serpent " was the figure under which the Oriental Chris- 
tians loved to allude to the Pagan worships which still opposed 
them in Asia Minor 1 . Hence there arose much confusion among 
the Ophites themselves as to the character of the serpent, and 
while some, according to Irenaeus, asserted that Sophia the 
mother of laldabaoth herself became the serpent 2 , Theodoret, 
a very late witness, thinks that the Ophites of his time held 
that Ophiomorphus, although originally the minister of Sophia, 
had gone over to the other side, and had become the enemy 
of mankind 3 . In this we may also, perhaps, see, if we will, 
the effect of Egyptian influence upon the earlier Ophite teaching ; 
for in Egypt, the serpent Apep was always looked upon as 
the enemy of Ka, the Sun-god, who was rightly considered 
the great benefactor of humanity. It is no doubt due to the 
same influence that in one of the documents of the Pistis 
Sophia one part of which, as will be seen later, was probably 
written for the furtherance of a late form of the Ophite heresy 
the serpent, while keeping his place in the Cosmos as the 
great ocean which surrounds the earth, is transformed into 
the outer darkness of the Canonical Gospels, and described as 
a huge torbure-chamber for the punishment of souls 4 . The 
same document shows us how the Ophites, while adopting all 
the ideas of their predecessors the Orphics as to the respective 
states of the initiated and uninitiated after death, including 
therein their reincarnation, the draught from the lake of 
memory and the like contrived to mix with them the current 
astrological ideas of the time which made all these events 
happen in an order determined by the motions of the stars 5 . 
This tendency, already visible in Hippolytus' time in the Ophite 

1 See Ada Philippi before quoted passim. 

2 Irenaeus, Bk i. o. 28, 8, p. 241, Harvey. King, Gnostics, etc. p. 101, 
quotes from Tertullian, de Praescript., " Serpentem magnificant in tantuxn 
ut etiam Christo praeferant," which sounds like an Ophite doctrine ; but 
I have failed to verify the quotation. 

3 Theodoret, Haer. Fab. I. 24. 

4 Pistis Sophia, pp. 319, 320, Copt. 

5 Ibid. p. 384, Copt. 

YIII] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 79 

sect which he calls the Peratae 1 , will, however, be better con- 
sidered when we come to deal with the documents of the Pistis 
Sophia themselves. 

There remains to be said that the .Gospel according to the 
Egyptians mentioned above is the only apocryphal document 
that Hippolytus directly attributes to the earlier Ophites or 
Naassenes. The sects derived from them seem to have made 
use of a great number of others, among which we find a Book 
of Baruch otherwise unknown to us, The Paraphrase of Seth, 
the Gospels of Nicodemus, Philip, and Thomas, together with 
a Gospel according to the Hebrews, which may or may not have 
been identical with the one which Hippolytus calls that according 
to the Egyptians 2 . Of these, the first two are entirely lost, and 
the documents which we possess bearing the name of the 
Gospel of Nicodemus relate the events of the Crucifixion in 
much the same way as the Canonical Gospels, but add thereto 
the visit of Jesus to Hades. A Gospel of Thomas, which is 
also extant, contains only the account of miracles performed 
by Jesus in His infancy, and therefore goes to controvert the 
Ophite theory that Christos and Sophia only descended upon 
Him at His baptism, and that up to that period He was as 
other men. It is probable, however, that our copies of these 
Apocryphal Gospels have been severely edited so as to expunge 
everything which savoured of Gnostic teaching and may really 
have been partly or wholly the work of Ophites 3 . Of the 
Gospel of Philip, Epiphanius has preserved a short passage as 
follows : 

" The Lord has revealed to me what the soul ought to say when 
she goes to heaven, and how she ought to answer each of the Powers 
on high. ' I have known myself,' she says, ' and I have collected 
myself from everywhere, and I have not begotten children for the 
Archon, but I have rooted out his roots, and I have collected the 
scattered members, and I know thee what thou art. For I, she 

1 Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. c. 13, pp. 188 sqq. 9 Cruice. 

2 See G-iraud, op. cit. pp. 250 sqq. for references and editions. English 
translations of some of them have appeared in the *' Apocryphal Acts" etc. 
of Clark's Ante-Nicene Library, and in Cambridge Texts and Studies. 

3 This is the opinion of Lipsiijs. See Diet. Christian Biog. s.v. Gospels, 

80 Post-Christian Gnostics: tlie Ophites [OH. 

says, am from above 1 .' And thus lie [i.e. Philip] says, she is set 
free. But if, he says, she is found to have begotten a son, she is 
retained below, until she can receive again her own children, and 
draw them up to herself 2 ." 

Similar expressions are to be found in two of the documents 
of the Pistis Sophia, and the abstinence from sexual intercourse 
which they enjoin is direct and first-hand evidence rebutting 
the accusation' of promiscuous immorality which Epiphanius 
brings against the Ophites or their related sects. Epiphanius 
attributes to the same sect of " Gnostici " the use of a Gospel 
of Perfection which " others " the context shows that he 
means certain Ophites " are not ashamed to call the Gospel 
of Eve." Of this he also preserves a single passage as follows : 

u I stood upon a high mountain, and I saw a huge man and another 
who was mutilated [or perhaps only smaller, KoA,oj&V] and I heard 
a voice of thunder, and I drew near to hearken and he spoke to 
me and said, * I am thou and thou art I ; and where thou art, there 
am I, and I am scattered through all things. And whenoesoever 
thou dost wish, collect me, and in collecting me, thou dost collect 
thyself 3 .' " 

Is the greater and lesser man here the Adamas or Father- 
and-Son of the Ophites, in which case the latter part of the 
passage doubtless refers to the scattering of the light through 
the world of matter and the necessity of its collection and 
return to the Godhead. The " I am thou and thou art I " 
phrase is repeated in the Pistis Sophia by the risen Jesus to 
His disciples 4 , and seems to refer to the final union of the 
perfected human soul with the Deity. 

1 Of. the similar expressions in the speech of the soul on the Orphic 
Gold Plates, Chapter IV, vol. I. pp. 131 sqq. 

2 Epiphanius, Haer, XXVL c. 13, p. 190, Oehler. 

3 Ibid. p. 172, Oehler. Cf. the " Logia Jesu" published by the Egypt 
Exploration Fund in Oxyrfiynckus Papyri, 1898, p. 3, " Wherever there 
are two, they are not without God, and wherever there is one alone, I say 
I am with him. Baise the stone, and there thou shalt find me, cleave the 
wood and there am I." 

* Pistis Sophia, pp. 206, 230, Copt. 

vin] Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophites 81 

In addition to these books, the Ophites whom Irenaeus 
and Hippolytus describe quoted freely from the Canonical 
books of the Old Testament, from one of the apocryphal books 
of Ezra and from the Book of Tobit, as also from such books 
of the Canonical New Testament as the Gospels, including 
that of St John, and most of the Pauline Epistles, including 
that to the Hebrews 1 . But it would be going too far to say 
that they " accepted " these or attributed to them a Divine 
origin, or thought them inspired in the sense in which the 
word was used by the Catholic Church. On the contrary, 
Epiphanius complains that they thought many of the contents 
of the Old Testament Books at any rate were inspired only by 
laldabaoth and the creators of the world of matter for the 
purpose of misleading mankind 2 ; and throughout they seem 
to have considered all the Canonical Scriptures that they quote 
as on an equality with the writings of Homer, Hesiod, the 
legendary Orpheus, and other heathen writers such as Herodotus. 
Without attempting to deny or question the historical truth 
of the facts or legends recorded by all these authors, they 
regarded them merely as figures having an allegorical or typical 
meaning, which they could interpret in any manner they 
pleased, so as to make them accord with their own preconceived 
theories. Thus the Naassenes when they found St Luke quoting 
from the Proverbs of Solomon that " the just will fall seven 
times and rise again," declared that this referred to the down- 
ward passage of man's soul through the planetary heavens 3 ; 
and Justinus, one of the Ophite teachers, finding a story in 
Herodotus about Heracles and the serpent-tailed girl whom he 
met in Scythia, said that it was a type of the generation of the 

1 Griiber, Die Ophiten, Wiirzburg, 1&64, pp. 173 sqq., points out that the 
Ophites, like the Valentinians, seem to have used the Peshitto or Syriac 
version of the Canonical Books for their quotations. He says the fact 
had been already noticed by Harvey* It is, of course, another indication 
of the Anatolian or Syrian origin of the sect. 

2 Irenaeus, I. 28, c. 5, p. 237, Harvey, gives a list of the books which 
they assigned to each planetary power, Jaldabaoth taking the lion's share 
with the Hexateuch, Amos and Habbakuk. 

3 Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. c. 7, p. 150, Cruice. Proverbs xxiv. 16 
seems the text referred to. 

L. n. 6 

82 Post-Christian Gnostics: the Ophite* [ 

universe by the combination of the invisible and unforeseeing 
Demiurge and the female principle or Sophia 1 . The same 
dialectic had already been made use of by the Orpines, by 
Philo of Alexandria, and by Simon Magus ; but the Ophites 
seem to have been the first to apply it to all literature. The 
full effect of this method of interpretation we shall see later. 
Generally speaking, it may be said that the Ophites seem 
to have been the first to bring about any kind of amalgamation 
between the popular religions of the Near Bast and the rising 
faith of Christianity. By interpreting the " mysteries " or 
secret rites of Asia Minor and elsewhere in their own sense, 
they supplied Christianity with a mythology which it would 
otherwise have lacked and the absence of which must always 
have proved a bar to its propagation among other than Semitic 
peoples. At the same time they greatly exalted the figure of 
Christ, who in their system became much less the personal 
teacher and master of the Jewish-Christian communities 2 than 
the angel or messenger of the Supreme Being sent from above 
in pursuance of a vast scheme for the redemption of the human 
race. In this capacity it went some way towards identifying 
the historical Jesus with the great god of the Mysteries and 
towards giving the sacraments of the newly-founded Church 
the secular authority of the rites practised in them. The 
influence of the Ophite system or systems upon, the sects which 
succeeded them is at present hard to define, but there can be 
little doubt that some of the documents, which have come 
down to us in the Coptic MSS, before mentioned and will 
be more fully described in Chapter X, can only be explained 
by reference to them. 

1 Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. c. 25, pp. 226, 227, Cruice. Sophia is evi- 
dently the serpent in this combination. 

2 The Ebionites, or whatever other Judaeo-Ohristian sect is responsible 
for the Clementines, make St Peter affirm that Jesus " did not proclaim 
Himself to be God," and that " that which is begotten cannot be compared 
with that which is unbegotten or self -begotten." See Clem. Horn. xvt. 
ca 15, 16. 



IT seems fairly plain that the originators of the Ophite 
teaching were uneducated men 1 . A few quotations from 
Homer and Pindar, probably familiar to anyone who listened 
to the Rhapsodists, are indeed to be found in the anonymous 
author whom Hippolytus quotes under the name of " the 
Naassene." But the reading of the learned of that day con- 
sisted not of poetry but of philosophy ; and there is no trace 
in his speculations of direct acquaintance with the works of 
any philosopher whatever. This is the more striking because 
Heraclitus of Ephesus, Zeno of Cyprus, and Cleanthes of Assos 
might have been brought into court in support of his cosmo- 
gonical ideas ; and the Stoic philosophy was especially an 
Asiatic one, having one of its principal homes in Tarsus, and 
therefore not very far from Phrygia proper. Its cosmology as 
taught in Rome at the period now under discussion 2 , differed 
very little from that of the earlier Ophites, and its theory of 
<e seminal reasons " (\6ryoi a-Trep/^art/col) or particles of fiery 
matter descending from heaven to earth and there becoming 
formative principles, together with its belief in metensomatosis 
or transmigration has many resemblances with the Ophite 

1 The same may be said of practically all Christians of the Apostolic 
age. See Hatch, H.L. p. 124. It was the reproach which Celsus cast at 
the whole Christian community in the reign of Marcus Aurelius. See 
Origen, cont. Cds. Bk rrr. c. 44. Origen, op. tit. Bk m. c. 9, retorts that 
" now" (i.e. circa 230 A.D.) not only rich but highly-placed men and well- 
born ladies are to be found among the Christians. The change probably 
took place during the reign of Commodus ; Eusebius, Hist. Ecd. Bk v. 
<?. 21. Origen and Busehius agree that this entry of educated men into the 
^Church brought heresy along with it. See Origen, op. tit. Bk m. c. 1& 

2 Brehier, " La Cosmologie Stoicienne," R.E.R. t. LXIV. (1911), pp. 1-9. 


84 Post-Christian Gnostics: Vcdentinm [GIL 

scheme of redemption 1 . Yet the Naassene author in an age 
when philosophy was most in fashion never appeals to the 
authority of the founders of the Stoic school or of those followers 
of theirs who must have been his contemporaries and country- 
men ; and Hippolytus, whose own acquaintance with Greek 
philosophy was superficial and hardly first-hand, in his summary 
of the Naassene doctrine draws no parallel between the two. 
On the other hand, the Naassene author perpetually refers to 
the Old Testament which he seems to have known in the Peshitto 
or Syrian version, although, as will have been seen, he by no 
means regards it from the Jewish standpoint as a divinely 
inspired rule of life, and pushes down Yahweh, its God, into 
a very inferior position in the scale of being. As the date of 
the Peshitto has not yet been put further back than the second 
century A.D. 2 , this would lead one to suppose that it had only 
recently come to the notice of the Naassene writer, who probably 
welcomed it as a valuable source from which to draw materials 
for spells and exorcisms. This excessive reverence for the 
letter as apart from the spirit of a document is characteristic 
of the magician of the early Christian centuries, and is further 
exemplified in a magic papyrus of the nird century A.D., now 
in the British Museum, where " a number of single lines taken 
without any regard to sense or on any discernible principle from 
the Iliad and Odyssey " are arranged in a certain order for use 
as a fortune-telling book, and appear in company with magical 
recipes for obtaining dreams, compounding love philtres, and 
all the usual paraphernalia of a wizard of the period 3 . Such a 
use of writings venerable for their antiquity would never enter 
into the head of anyone endowed with any literary sense, but 
seems natural enough to persons of limited reading, to whom 
they form their sole material for study. In reading into the 
lives of the Jewish patriarchs hidden allusions to the theories 

1 A. W. Bonn, The Philosophy of Greece, 1898, pp, 246, 25& 
* Kenyon, Handbook to the Textual Criticism of the N, T. 9 1901, p. 138, 
says, " Mr Gwilliam, whose opinion, as editor of the Peshitto, is entitled to 
all respect, believes it to be the original translation of the Scriptures nito 
Syriac," but thinks the question not yet decided, 
8 Kenyon, Greek Papyri, p. 8S. 

ix] Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 85 

of the origin of the universe and the destiny of man then current 
over the whole Hellenistic world, the Naassenes did not behave 
differently from our own Puritans of Cromwell's time, who dis- 
covered in texts like " Take the prophets of Baal, Let not one 
of them escape 1 ! " a justification for " knocking on the head 
out of hand," the clergy of the opposing party 2 . We may, if we 
please, picture to ourselves the earlier Ophites as a handful of 
merchants, artizans, freedmen, and slaves inclined by inherited 
custom to magical practices and to ecstatic or hysterical forms 
of religion, and, as it were, intoxicated by the new field of 
speculation which the translation of the Hebrew Scriptures into 
their own tongue had opened to them. At the same time, their 
anti-Semitic feeling, dating perhaps from the time of the Mac- 
cabaean resistance which had materially contributed to the 
downfall of the Syrian Empire, and considerably exacerbated 
by the atrocities committed by the Jewish rebels at the close 
"of the ist century A.D., must have forced them into an attitude 
in every way opposed to Jewish national pretensions ; while 
it is easy to understand that such persons must have caught 
eagerly at any via media which enabled them to reconcile the 
Jewish traditions, long familiar to them through spells and 
charms, with the legends of the Greek Mysteries, and at the 
same time protected them against the social and moral obloquy 
attaching to open adherence to the Jewish rites. Such con- 
si derations, perhaps, explain alike the immediate success of 
St Paul's preaching in Asia Minor, and the outburst of activity 
among the Gnostics which followed close upon it 3 . 

1 1 Kings xviii. 40. 

2 See the case of Dr Michael Hudson quoted by Sir Walter Scott from 
Peck's Desiderata Curiosa in his notes to Woodstock ; and Cromwell's 
letter to the Houses on the siege of Drogheda. 

3 M. Cumont's theory, that the Jewish colonies in Phrygia had intro- 
duced the worship among the Pagans of Yahweh -under the name of 
" Hypsistos " is not convincing ; but it is probable that in religious matters 
these colonists gave more than they borrowed. The story of the king 
of Adiabene who wished to turn Jew (see Chapter XII, infra) is signi- 
ficant. Cf . the princes of the same kingdom who fell while fighting valiantly 
in the Jewish ranks in the Sunday battle of Gabao in which Cestius Gallus 
was defeated. See Josephus, Bdl. Bk IT. c. 19, 2. 

86 Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [CH. 

The Gnostic speculations were, however, destined to pass 
out of the hands of unlearned men. Although it was hardly 
likely to have been noticed at the time, the day was past for 
national or particularist religions having for their object the 
well-being of one nation or city;, .and men's relations to the 
Divine world were coming to be looked upon as a matter 
concerning the individual rather than tlie State. Alexander's 
work in breaking down the barriers between people and people 
was beginning to bear fruit in the intellectual as it had already 
done in the political world, and the thoughtful were everywhere 
asking themselves, as Tertullian tells us, not only whence man 
and the world had come, but what was the meaning of the evil 
within the world 1 . Along with this, too, had come a general 
softening of manners which was extremely favourable to specu- 
lation on such subjects, and to which the vagaries of the Caesars 
of the Julian house have made us somewhat blind. A reign 
of terror might often exist among the great families in the capital 
under a jealous or suspicious Emperor, and the majority of the 
proletariat might there as in other large towns be entirely given 
up to the brutal or obscene amusements of the arena or the 
theatre. But in the provinces these things had little effect on 
the working of the system set up under the Empire ; and the 
civilised world was for the first time, perhaps, in its history, 
beginning to feel the full benefits of good government and free- 
dom from foreign invasion. It is quite true that the population 
were then, as at the present day, leaving the country and flocking 
into the towns, thereby acquiring new vices in addition to their 
old ones ; but this also led, as town life must always do, to 
increased respect for the rights of their neighbours, and to the 
extension of the idea of law and order rather than of the right 
of the strongest as the governing principle of the universe. 
The Roman law, upon which the jurisprudence of every civilized 
country is still based, first took coherent shape in the reign 
of Hadrian ; and Ulpian's fundamental maxim that before the 
law all men are free and equal was founded on a conception of 
the rights of the individual very different from the Oriental notion 
that all subjects high and low were the chattels of the king. 

1 Tertullian, de Pra&cript* <x 

ix] Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 87 

In these circumstances, new ethical ideals had arisen which 
affected all classes in the State. As Sir Samuel Dill has said in 
his charming sketch of Roman manners under the Julian, Flavian 
and Antonine emperors, "It has perhaps been too little recog- 
nized that in the first and second centuries there was a great 
propaganda of pagan morality running parallel to the evangelism 
of the Church 1 ." But this ethical propaganda was an entirely 
lay affair, and the work not of the priests but of the philosophers 2 . 
It had, indeed, always been so in the Hellenic world, and while 
we find it exciting no surprise that a priest of the most sacred 
mysteries should be worse instead of better than other men 3 , 
it was the philosophers to whom was committed what was later 
called the care of souls. Thus Alexander had recourse, when 
prostrated by self-reproach after the killing of Clitus, to the 
ministrations of Anaxarchus, who endeavoured to console him 
with the sophism that kings are not to be judged like other men 4 . 
So, too, we hear of the Stoic philosopher, Musonius Rufus, when 
the army of Vespasian was besieging Rome, accompanying 
the Senate's embassy to the troops of Antonius, and preaching 
to them at the risk of his life upon the blessings of peace and the 
horrors of war 5 . Seneca, also, when about to die, endeavours 
to stay his friends' lamentations by reminding them of the 
" rules of conduct" by which alone they may expect consolation, 
and bequeaths to them the example of his life* ; while the 
" Stoic saint," Thrasea, when the sentence of death reaches him, 
is occupied in listening to a discourse of Demetrius the Cynic 
on the nature of the soul and its separation from the body 7 . 
This shows an attitude of mind very different from the merely 
magical or, as we should say, superstitious belief in the efficacy 
of spells and ceremonies ; and the example of Epictetus bears 
witness that it was that of slaves as well as of senators. 

Gnosticism, therefore, was bound to become ethical as well 
as gnostical, or, in other words, to insist on the efficacy of 
conduct as well as of knowledge, so soon as it came into contact 

1 Dill, Roman Society from Nero to Marcus Aurelius, p. 346, 

2 Ibid. pp. 293, 294. 

3 Like Callias. See Chapter H, vol. I. p. 76, supra. 

4 Arrian, Anabasis, Bk rv. c. 9. 5 Tacitus, Hisl. Bk m. c. 81. 
6 Tacitus, Annal. Bk xv. c. 62. 7 Ibid. Bk xvi. c. 34. 

88 Post-GhriMian Chiostics: Valentinus [OH. 

with thinkers trained in philosophy. Where it did so, in the 
first instance, cannot be told with any degree of certainty ; 
but all probability points to Alexandria as one of the places 
where the post-Christian Gnosticism first made alliance with 
philosophic learning. Not only was Alexandria the natural 
meeting-place of Greeks and Orientals, but it was at the early 
part of the nnd century a great deal more the centre of the 
intellectual world than either Athens or Rome. Although 
Ptolemy IX Physcon is said to have expelled from it the philo- 
sophers and scholars of the Museum, they seem to have returned 
shortly afterwards, and in the meantime their dispersion in 
the neighbouring cities and islands, where most of them must 
have supported themselves by teaching, probably did a good 
deal towards diffusing the taste for philosophy over a wider 
area than before. In Philo's time, in particular, the Platonic 
philosophy had gained such a hold in the city that he, though a 
leader of the Jews, had had to assimilate it as best he might 1 , 
and, as we have seen, to bring it more or less into harmony with 
the traditional beliefs of his own people. A century later we 
see the same thing occurring with the now rising sect of Chris- 
tians ; and a school of Christian philosophy was founded in 
Alexandria under the leadership of Pantaenus, the predecessor 
in office of the famous Clement of Alexandria 2 . If we may 
judge from the writings of this last, the expressed object of 
this school was to instil a knowledge of Greek literature and 
philosophy into Christian teachers, to bring about which it 
attempted to show that, while both philosophy and Christian 
theology alike aimed at the discovery of .ixuh y the valuable 
parts of the philosophic doctrines were borrowed or derived 
from the writings held sacred by Jews and Christians 8 . Nor were 
the Alexandrians in the least likely to refuse a hearing to any 
new faith however wild. The leading place which Alexandria 
had gained among the markets of the world brought within its 
gates the adherents of every religion then known, and Jewish 
merchants and Christian artizans there mixed with Buddhist 

1 Matter, Hist, du Cfnost. 1. 1. p. 398, 
1 Eusebms, $cd. Hist. Bk iv. c 6. 
8 Clem, Alex. Strom. Bk i. o. 15. 

ix] Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 89 

monks and fetish-worshippers from Central Asia, while the 
terms on which they met compelled a wide tolerance for one 
.another's opinions, and predisposed its citizens to a practical 
amalgam of several apparently conflicting creeds 1 . 

It was into^this atmosphere that Gnosticism entered at 
lea^T^H^early as the reign of Hadrian. Who was answerable 
for its first introduction there we have no means of knowing, 
nor do we even know with any certainty what form Egyptian 
-Gnosticism first took 2 . One would imagine that the Hellenizing 
tendency of the Samaritans might have brought to Alexandria 
the doctrines of Simon Magus, but there is no direct evidence 
to that effect. The case is different with Antioch, where one 
Saturninus or Satornilus the name is spelt differently by 
Irenaeus and Hippolytus seems to have put forth, at the period 
referred to, a gwsi-Christian system having some likeness to 
that of the Ophites, its chief distinguishing feature being its 
hatred of Judaism and its God, for whose overthrow it declared 
Christ to have been sent 3 . Like the Ophites, Saturninus rigidly 
opposed the commerce of the sexes, 

generation tjquhe^jJikejfche work of Satan, the declared enemy 
oFffi? world-creatii^j,^^ God 

J&WBJL,, But tjie foHowej^Qitkia &turnmus sesm to 
few in number, and although all the later heresiologists 
of his teaching, it is probable that th 

it&df -dMU-aaot. long survive its founder 5 : Basilides, whose 
name is associated with that of Saturninus by Irenaeus, Hip- 
polytus, and Epiphanius, who all make him a fellow disciple 
with Saturninus of Menander, the continuator or successor of 

1 Cf, Hadrian's letter to Servian, Chapter II, vol. I. p. 86, swpra. 

2 Amelineau, Le Gnosticisme figyptien, p. 30. Its early shape was 
probably more magical and less ethical than its later developments, because, 
as the same author (P.S.B.A. 1888, p. 392) says, for several centuries it 
was only the lowest classes in Egypt that became Christians. 

3 Irenaeus, Bk L c. 18, p. 197, Harvey. Hippolytus, op. tit. Bk vn. 
c. 28, p. 369, Cruice. 

* So Hippolytus, loo. oti., who copies Irenaeus' statement word for 
word. But something has evidently slipped out of the text. If Christ and 
Satan were both the enemies of Yahweh, we should have the (rvfj.(p^vjja-Ls or 
fellowship declared impossible by St Paul in 2 Cor. vi. 15. 

5 Matter, Hist, du Onoat. 1. 1. p. 349. 

90 Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [OH., 

Simon Magus 1 , certainly flourished under the same reign at 
Alexandria, where lie taught an extremely complicated doctrine, 
declaring that between the unknown Father of All and this- 
world there was interposed a series of 365 heavens corresponding 
in number to the days of the year, the chief of them being called 
Abraxas, the letters of which word have that numerical value 2 . 
This is the account of Irenaeus, not materially varied by any 
of the other early writers on heresy, with the exception of 
Hippolytus, who gives us a long account of the doctrine of 
Basilides and his son Isidore, which according to their own 
account they derived from Matthias, the Apostle who replaced 
Judas and who received it secretly from Jesus Himself 3 . From 
Hippolytus, we learn that Basilides' complete or final teaching 
declared that there was a time when nothing existed 

" neither matter, nor substance, nor the Unsubstantial, nor simple, 
nor compound, nor the Intelligible, nor the Unintelligible, nor that 
which can be comprehended by the senses, nor that which cannot 
be so comprehended, nor man, nor angel, nor god, nor anything 
which can be named 55 

and that this God-Who~Was-Not willed to make a world 4 . This 
act of volition, exercised in Hippolytus' words " without will or 
mind or consciousness 5 ," produced the Seed of the World which 
contained within itself all the future universe, as the grain of 
mustard-seed contains the roots, stem, branches, leaves, and 

1 Irenaeus, Bk i. c. 18, p. 197, Harvey ; Hippolytus, Bk VIL o, 28* 
p. 367, Cruice ; Epiphanius, Haer, xxin. o. 1, p. 135, Oehler. 

2 Irenaeus, Bk I. c. 19, 1, p. 199, Harvey. For the name Abraxas 
see ibid. p. 203, and Hippolytus, op. oit. Bk vn. c. 26, p. 861, Cruico, A 
Harvey points out in his note, the passage containing it has evidently 
slipped out of Irenaeus' text and has been added at the foot of the roll. 

8 Hippolytus, qp. cit. Bk vrt. o. 20, p. 344, Cruioe, The revelations 
in question must therefore have been made after the Resurrection, Clement 
of Alexandria says that Basilides was a disciple of Glaucias, the interpreter 
of Peter : Strom. Bk vn. o. 17. 

4 Hippolytus, op. tit. Bk vn. c. 21, pp. 345, 346, Cruice. 

5 d6e\r)ra>t Kal &vor)rti>f KCU dvQt<rQr)Ttos. Hippolytus, loc* dt. This 
orriy^a d^pwrroj/ or " indivisible point " from which all things come 
is mentioned hx Simon Magus' Apophasis (see Chapter VI, vol. I. p. 194, 
supra) as well as in the Bruce Papyrus of Chapter X, t^ 

ix] Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 91 

innumerable other seeds of the future plant 1 . In this Seed was 
" a Sonhood, threefold in all things, of the same substance with 
the God- Who- Was-Not and generated from non-existing things 2 . ' ' 
Of this threefold Sonhood., one part was subtle or finely divided 
like aether or air, one coarser, and one which needed purifica- 
tion ; and he goes on to describe how the finer part immediately 
upon the projection of the Seed, burst forth and flew upwards 
until it reached the Non-Existent-One, towards whom, Hip- 
polytus says, " every nature strains," on account of " its beauty 
and majesty 3 ." The coarser part of the Sonhood attempted 
to imitate the first, but failed to do so until helped by the Holy 
Spirit who served it as the wing does the bird ; but although 
the second Sonhood thereby attained beatitude, the Holy 
Spirit could not enter into the Godhead along with him " because 
it (or she) was of a different substance from him and had nothing 
of his nature 4 ." She was therefore left near it, purified and 
sanctified by her contact with the Sonhood as a jar which has 
once contained perfume still preserves its savour 5 . As for the 
third Sonhood, it remained in the Seed of the World, which 
thereafter gave birth to the Great Archon or Ruler, who is the 
Demiurge or Architect of the Universe and fashions all cosmic 
things. This Archon makes out of the things below him a Son 
who by the arrangement of the God-Who-Was-Not is greater 
and wiser than himself, whence the Archon causes him to sit 
at his right hand 6 . This Son is in effect Christ, who reveals 
to the Archon the existence of the worlds above hirn, and sends 
the Gospel (here personified) into the world so that by it the 
third Sonhood might be purified and thus raised to union with 
the God-Who-Was-Not. 

1 Or like the Orphic egg from which Phanes came forth. See Chapter IV, 
vol. i. p. 123, supra. 

2 T Hv, <7<jr/v, (v avro> TG> trTre'pfiari Yidr^s, rpt/xepq? Kara iravra^ r<5 O&K 
#vrt 0eo) 6/xooucrioss yvr)rr) ef OVK ovranr, Hippolytus, Op. cit. Bk vn. c. 22, 
p. 349, Cruice. If these are Basilides actual words, he would seem to 
have been the first author to make use of the expression Homoousios. 

3 Hippolytus, op. et loc* tit. p. 350, Cruice. 

4 *J&xctv ftfv avrb p,T avrrjf OVK ijdwaro- tfv yap av% oftoovcrtov ov$ 
<tW fix* ftcra ijjs YforTjro?. Hippolytus, op. et loc. cit. p. 351, Cruice. 

5 Had Basilides or Hippolytus read Horace ? 

Hippolytus, op. tit. Bk vn. c. 23, p. 353, Cruice. 

92 Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [OH. 

There is no need to follow farther the system of Basilides, nor 
to describe the extremely complicated tangle of worlds, princi- 
palities, powers, and rulers, including the 365 heavens and their 
Archon or ruler Abraxas, which Basilides interposes between this 
earth and the Godhead. M. Amelineau has endeavoured to show 
that, in this, Basilides was borrowing from the ancient Egyptian 
religion which he imagines to have been still flourishing in the 
Egypt of the second Christian century 1 . It may be so ; and, 
although M. Amelineau's proofs seem hardly strong enough to 
bear the weight of the conclusions he would draw from them, 
it may be conceded that in the Ogdoad and the Hebdomad of 
which we hear so much in Hippolytus' account of Basilides' 
teaching, we have a distinct echo of the extraordinary arithmetic 
of the Pharaonic or old Egyptian theology, wherein we are 
constantly meeting with an Ennead or "company" of nine 
gods which, as M. Maspero has shown, sometimes consists of 
eight^jjometimes of ten, and sometimes of a still more discrepant 
a&mher of individuals 2 * But Basilides* system was never in- 
tended for popular use ; for he himself said, according to 
Irenaeus, that only one out of a thousand or two out of ten 
thousand could understand it, and that his disciples should 
keep their adherence to it strictly secret, seeking to know all 
things, but themselves remaining unknown 3 . Its interest for 
us here lies in the fact that Valentinus who transformed post- 

1 Amelineau, Le Gnoaticisme $gyptien, pp. 139-152. So Mallet, 
Culte. de Neilh A Sais, Paris, 1888, pp. 213, 214, says that both Basilides 
and Valentinus drew their doctrines from the late form of Egyptian religion 
which he describes. 

2 Paut neteru. Maspero, fitudes SgyptoL, n. pp. 244, 245. Of. the 
whole of the luminous essay Sur PEnneade in the same volume and especially 
pp. 385, 386. Of. Naville, Old Egyptian Faith, p. 117 ; Erman, Hist. 
Egyptian Rdigion, p. 78. 

3 T% enim, aiunt, omnes cognosce, te autem nemo cognosced Non 

autem, multos scire posse haec, sed unum a mille, et duo a myriadibus. Ire- 
naeus, Bk r. c. 19, 3, p. 202, Harvey. Epiphanius, Haer. xxiY. o. 5, 
p. 152, Oehler, while copying Irenaeus' account puts it rather differently, 
'Y/Aflr TrdvTa yu/oxTKfrf, vpas 8e prjdels yivacnctru, which probably represents 
Irenaeus' own expression. One of the authors of the Pistis Sophia had 
evidently heard of Basilides' remark about 1 in 1000. Of. Pistis Sophia, 
p. 354, Copt. 

ix] Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 93 

Christian Gnosticism, as will presently be seen, from an esoteric 
or mystical explanation of Pagan beliefs 1 into a form of Christi- 
anity able to compete seriously with the Catholic Church, was 
himself a native of Egypt, that he studied the Platonic philosophy 
in Alexandria 2 , and that he must have resided there at the same 
time as Basilides, who was slightly older than he, and died 
before Valentinus' doctrine was promulgated 3 . It is therefore 
hardly possible that Valentinus should not have known of 
Basilides' teaching and have borrowed from it, even without 
the internal evidence of borrowing afforded by a comparison 
of the two systems 4 . The almost total silence of the Fathers as 
to Basilides 5 school after that of Valentinus became famous is 
to be accounted for, as Matter points out, by supposing that 
the hearers of Basilides, probably few in number, came over 
to him in a body 5 . 

Basilides, therefore, forms a very important link between 
Simon Magus and the pre-Christian Gnostics with whom 
Basilides was connected, as we have seen, through his master 
and Simon Magus' successor Menander on the one hand, and 
Valentinus on the other. But his teaching also explains to us 
why so many of the features of the Ophite doctrines also re- 
appear in the Valentinian heresy. For the three Sonhoods of 
Basilides, although described in a fantastic and almost unin- 
telligible way by Hippolytus, seem to correspond in idea with 

1 So Irenaeus, loc. tit., p. 203, Harvey, makes the Basilidiaiis say that 
they were neither Jews nor Christians : Et Judaeos quidem jam non esse 
dicunt, Christianas avti&m, nondum or, as Epiphanius^foc. ciL, more strongly 
puts it: 'lovdaiovs pev eavrovs fJujKeTL elvat, (f)d<rKOV(n, Xpurnavovs Se 

2 Epiphanius, Pan. Haer. xxxi. c. 2, p. 306, Oehler. Amelineau, 
Gnost. $g. p. 168, defends Epiphanius' statement. 

3 Matter, Hist, du Gnost. t. n. p. 37, says that Basilides died about 
135 A.D. and that Valentinus' teaching began to make itself heard about 
the year following ; but he gives no authorities for the statement. Epi- 
phanius, loc. tit., does say, however, that Valentinus was later in time than 
Basilides and " Satornilus " (Saturninus). T There seems no authority for 
Matter's statement that he was of Jewish origin. 

* Amelineau, Gnost. fig. p. 176, and Clement of Alexandria as there 
quoted. Cf. King, Gnostics, p. 263. 
5 Matter, Hist, du Gnost. t. n. p. 36. 

94 Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [OH. 

the First and Second Man and the Christos of the Naassene 
writer ; while the Holy Spirit, who is of inferior essence and 
therefore remains below the Supreme Godhead, can hardly be 
distinguished from the Sophia or Prunicos who in the Ophite 
scheme plays so large a part in the work of the redemption of 
the light. The power of the Great Archon or Ruler of this 
World is also said in Hippolytus' account of the Basilidean 
teaching, to rise no higher than the firmament, which was 
placed between the hypercosmic spaces where soared the 
Boundary Spirit, and the ordered universe 1 , a statement 
which strictly corresponds to the limit placed on the power 
and authority of the Ophite laldabaoth. The Archon of 
Basilides who must, I think, be intended for Yahweh the God 
of the Jews is, like laldabaoth, ignorant that there is anything 
above him 2 ; and although he differs from his prototype in 
being better taught by his Son, this is easily explained by 
the higher position occupied by both Jews and Christians in 
Alexandria than in Phrygia. It is significant also that the 
mystic and probably cryptogrammatic name Caulacau which 
the Naassene writer uses for the Saviour of his system is applied 
to the corresponding person in the system of Basilides 3 . 

1 *E7ret ofiv yeyove Trpa^rrj KCU 8cvTpa dvadpoprj TTJS Yfor^ros', Kal it^vr\Kv 
avrov TO Jlvevpa r6 "Asyiov rov flpypevov rpoirov, crrfpc&fjidTCQv vrrepKOOfjutcov 
Kal TO KO&IJLQV /xrafu Teraypevov: Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk VII. C. 23, p. 353, 

2 Hippolytus, loc. cit. p. 354, Cruice. 

3 Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk v. c. 8, pp. 158, 159, Cruice, says simply in 
.speaking of the Naassene writer : ofrroi ela-lv ol rpcls virtpoynoi. \6yoi 
" KavXa/cai), SavAaom), Zfrjcrdp." " KauXaKoD " rov aya>, rov 'ASa/iai/ros, 
"SauAa<ra{V TOV Karen flvrjrov, " Zcrjcrdp " TOV cVi ra ava> pevcraifTOf 9 lop$dvov. 
" These are the three weighty words : Caulacau [the name] of him who 
is above, [i.e.] Adamas; Saulasau of the mortal one who is beneath; 
Zeesar of the Jordan which flows on high." Epiphanius, Haer. xxv. c. 4, 
pp. 162, 164, Oehler, says that they are taken from the words of Isaiah 
xxviii. 10, DE> -W Ip^J 1p 1^ ^translated in the A.V. (< precept upon pre- 
eept;, line upon line, here a little " ; but the resemblance is not very close, 
and it is more probable that the barbarous words of the text cover some sort 
of cryptogram. Irenaeus, Bk i. c. 19, 3, p. 201, Harvey, says of the Basili- 
dians : Quemadnwdnm et muTidus ncm&i esse, in quo dicunt deacendiase et 
oscendisae Solvatorem, esse Caulacau, which Harvey says is unintelligible. 
See Salmon, s.h.v. in Diet, of Christian Biog., where he tries hard to explain 

ix] Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 95 

The popularity and success that attended Valentinus' own 
teaching may be judged from the pains that the Fathers took 
to oppose it. The five books Against Heresies so often quoted 
.above were written by Irenaeus with the avowed intention 
-of refuting Valentinus' disciples. Hippolytus, who aimed at a 
more encyclopaedic account of the heresies of his time, devotes 
more space to the Valentinian sect than to any other. Tertullian 
not only repeatedly gibes at them after his manner when treat- 
ing of other matters, but composed a special book against them 
.still extant, from which we learn of the existence of other 
treatises against them written by Justin Martyr, Miltiades a 
Christian sophist, and one Proculus, all which are now lost 1 . 
Those near to Valentinus in date seem hardly to have con- 
sidered him an enemy of Christianity. Clement of Alexandria 
quotes several passages from the writings of him and his 
followers, and although it is always with the view of con- 
tradicting the statements of his fellow-countryman, he yet 
does so without any of the heat displayed by other contro- 
versialists 2 . On the other hand, the orthodox who wrote long 
.after Valentinus was in his grave are most bitter against him. 
Epiphanius, who seldom had a good word for any one, calls him, 
with some justice, the chief of heretics 3 ; Philaster of Brescia 
-says he was more a follower of Pythagoras than of Christ, and 
that he led captive the souls of many 4 ; Praedestinatus, that he 
.and his followers throughout the East severely wounded the 

the name and its use. Cheyne, Prophecies of Isaiah, 2nd ed. voL I. p. 162, 
would make this Caulacau, however, equivalent to the " word of Jehovah " 
or Logos. Of. Benan,ffisZ. du Peuple d' Israel, Eng. ed. 1897, n. pp. 436, 437. 

1 Tertullian, adv. Valentinianos, c. 5. 

2 Clem. Alex. Strom. Bk n. c. 20 ; Bk rv. cc. 9, 13 ; Bk vi. c. 6. So 
Origen, to whose frequent quotations from the Valentinian Heracleon we 
owe all that we know of that shrewd Biblical critic. See A. E. Brooke, 
Fragments of Heracleon, Cambridge Texts and Studies, voL I. p. 4. Be 
Faye's opinion that Clement and Origen were the only Fathers who treated 
Gnosticism withintelligence and sometimes judicially has been quoted above. 

3 Epiphanius, Pan. Haer. xxxi. c. 1, p. 306, Oehler. 

4 Valentinus Pythagoricws magis guam Christianus, vanam guandam 

ac perniciosam dockrinam eructans, et velub amtJvmeticam, id est nvmerosi- 
tatis, novam fallaciam praedicans, muUorumque animas ignorantium capti- 
vavit, Philastrius, de Ha&resibus liber, c. 38, p. 43, Oehler, vol. i. 

96 Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [GEL 

Church of God 1 ; while Eusebius in his Life of Constantine 
produces an Imperial edict against the Valentinians and other 
heretics, issued, according to him, some time before the baptism 
of its promulgator, and ordering that they shall no longer be 
allowed to assemble together and that their " houses of prayer " 
shall be confiscated to the use of the Catholic Church 2 . It was 
probably in pursuance of some such law, which also enjoined, 
as Eusebius tells us, the search for and destruction of their 
writings, that a conventicle of the Valentinians at Callinicum on 
the Eastern frontier of the Empire was burned by the Christian 
mob headed by their bishop and monks in A.B. 388 3 . The 
same scenes were no doubt enacted in other parts of the Empire ; 
and we may, perhaps, see in the fury of the persecutors the 
measure of their fear. 

Yet there is little in the Valentinian doctrine as described 
by the Fathers to account for the popularity that it evidently 
attained. Valentinus, like all the Gnostics, believed in one 
Supreme Source of all things ; but he from the first threw over 
the extremely philosophical idea of Basilides, which some 
writers would derive from Buddhism 4 , of a non-existent God 
as the pinnacle of his system. To fill the gap thus left, he 
returned to the older conception of the Ophites, and postulated 
a Bythos or Deep as the origin of all. But this " Unknowable 
Father " was by no means the mere abstraction without direct 
action upon the world or man that he was in the systems of the 
Ophites and of Basilides. As to the mode of his action, however, 
a schism or rather, a difference of opinion early manifested 
itself among his followers. Some of them gave to Bythos a 
female consort called, as Irenaeus, and, following him, Tertullian, 
tell us, Silence (Siyy) and Grace (Kdpt?), from whom all the 
subsequent aeons or manifestations of the Godhead descended 5 . 

1 [ Valentiniani et Valentinus'] Hi per orientem dispersi graviter dei 
ecclesiam vulnerarunt, Praedestinatus, Bk i. c. 11, p. 235, Oehler, vol. I. 

2 Eusebius, Vita Constantini, Bk m. co. 64, 65. 

3 Gibbon, Decline and lall, vol. in. c. 27, p. 174, Bury. 

4 King, Gnostics, p. 13. 

8 Irenaeus, Bk I. c. 1, 1, pp. 8, 9, Harvey; Tertullian, adv. Val. o. vn. 
Is this the "Grace" for whose presence the soul prays in the apologiae of 
the Ophites ? See last chapter. 

ixj Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinm 97 

Irenaeus partly explains away this by the statement that Bythos 
or the Perfect Aeon dwelt for boundless ages in rest and solitude 
(yo-vxta), but that there existed with him Ennoia or Thought. 
Whether this last part of the statement was or was not thrown in 
so as to force a parallel between the system of Valentinus and 
that of Simon Magus from whom the orthodox insisted all later 
heresiarchs derived their teaching, cannot now be said. But 
Hippolytus, who, while not disputing this derivation, is just as 
anxious to show that Valentinus was also much indebted to 
the Pythagorean and Platonic philosophy learned by him at 
Alexandria, tells us that there were other Valentinians who 
insisted that the Father (or Bythos) was without spouse (aa-vyo?) 
not feminine (a9<r)\v <?) and lacking nothing (air poo-Serfs) ; and 
that Valentinus himself said that Bythos was " unbegotten 
(d<yevvr]To$) not subject to conditions of space or time, having 
no counsellor, nor any substance that could be comprehended 
by any figure of speech 1 ." Herein either Hippolytus or Valen- 
tinus seems to have been attracted by the ideas of the Neo- 
Pythagorean school of Alexandria, who indulged in many 
arithmetical theories about^jhejilon^^ 
went on producing male and f emalej^jQjM^ angl, &) numbers 

ruw * ..i ""**"** ""***^&* Wtlllta>a>iit ^^ i ^ ^jTOMll^liaW***' "*****- f* 4 ****** ' ' ' ' ' *' * ^ '* 

alternately unST TTarayed at the perfect^y-<),tm?,., 
Yet those who study ancient religions by the comparative 
method will be more inclined to see in this diversity of opinion 
among the Valentinians a hesitation between the old idea 
current, as we have seen, in the Eastern Mediterranean, that 
a god may be bisexual and therefore capable of producing 
descendants without female assistance and the ancient Semitic 
view (due perhaps to the fact that Semitic languages know only 
two genders) which divided the Godhead like everything else 
into male and female 3 . 

ff, (ftqcriy yevvijr&v OV&GV, Uarrjp de rjv povos ayevvrjroS) ov TQTTOV 
xpovoV) ov crvpftovKov, OVK aXXrjv TLV& KCLT ovBeva r>v rpoirtov 
wapevrjv ov<riav : Hippolytns, op. A Bk vi. c. 29, p. 280, Cruice. 

2 Diogenes Laertius* Vit. Pkitosoph. Bk vm. c. 19. 

3 Philippe Berger, "Les Stales Pnniques de la Bibliothque Nationale,'* 
Gazette ArMologique, lime ann. Paris, 1876, p. 123, says that the Aryan 
genius sees atmospheric phenomena where the Semite imagines persons 
who unite and give birth (personnes qui s'unissent et s'engendrent les ones 

L. n. 7 

98 Post-Christian Grnostics: Valentinus [OH. 

However this may be, all the Valentinian schools seem to 

have agreed upon the emanation which immediately proceeded 
from the Deep or the Father of All. Prom Bythos, either alone 
or with the help of Sige 1 , there proceeded Mind or Nous (NoD?), 
called also Monogenes 2 and the Father, the beginning of all 
subsequent things. This Nous is said to be " equal and like " 
to him from whom he had emanated, and by himself capable 
of comprehending the greatness of Bythos 3 . With Nous there 
also came forth a female Power named Aletheia or Truth 
(&Xr}9eia), and this pair gave birth to a second syzygy, viz. 
Logos or the Word (Ao'709) and Zoe or Life (Zco^), who in their 
turn produced a third pair, namely : Anthropos, Man ("AvdpuTros) 
and Ecclesia, the Church ('E/e/eA^cr/a) 4 . The later Valentinians, 
from whom Irenaeus quotes, added to these six aeons, Bythos 
and his spouse Sige, thus making up the originating Ogdoad 
or eightfold Godhead again called the root and substance of 
all [subsequent] things 5 . Valentinus himself, however, prob- 
ably did not give Bythos a spouse and held that he remained 
apart from and uplifted above his six principal emanations 6 . 

les autres). Eenan, Hist, du Peuple <F Israel, Paris, 1887, t. i. p. 49, shows 
that all Semites are naturally euhemerists and therefore anthropomorphists. 

1 Amelineau, Onost. $g. pp. 198 sqq., shows that Sige appears not only 
in the " Italic School '* of Valentinus' followers, but also in the Oriental 
School which is more likely to represent the teaching of Valentinus himself. 
This may in fact be deduced from the words which Hippolytus puts into 
his mouth (op. cit. Bk vi. c. 29, p. 281, Cruice) : 'A-yctTr??, faa-iv, ?jv tJAor, 17 
8e aydirr) OVK. eo-ra/ aydrrr}, e'av p? $ TO ayair^^vov. " He, he says, is all 
Love, and Love is not Love, unless there is something to love." Thus the 
Orphics called their Phanes or firstborn god Eros. 

2 As has been many times said, not " Only-begotten," but " unique." 
See Badham in Academy, 5 Sept. 1896. 

8 ravTrjv [Sige] de VTrofte^afAevrjv TO crrre'p/xa TOVTQ K.OL ey/cv/xova yVQfJ,for)v, 
a7roK.vfjarcu Now, ojuotdz> re /cat larov r<5 Trpo/SaAovri, /cat povov x&povvTa r6 
peyeQos TQV Uarpos : Irenaeus, Bk i. c. 1, 1, p. 9, Harvey : " and she 
having received this seed and becoming pregnant, brought forth Nous, like 
and equal to him who had projected him, and alone containing the greatness 
of the Father." 

4 Id. Bk i. c. 1, 1, pp. 9, 10, Harvey. 

6 Ibid. p. 10, Harvey. 

6 Hippolytus, op, cit. Bk vi. c. 29, p. 280, Cruice. 

ix] Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 99 

This subdivision of the Divine, resembling as it does the 
system of Simon Magus before described, may seem at first 
sight incredibly foolish and complicated, especially when it is 
considered that these " aeons," as Valentinus calls them, might 
be considered not only as powers but as worlds. So it did to 
the Fathers, who are never tired of pouring contempt upon it. 
Tertullian makes merry over the Valentinian conception of a 
universe with an endless series of heavens piled one over the 
other, as he says, like the " Lodgings to let " of a Roman insula 
or tenement house, or, had he ever seen one, of a New York 
skyscraper 1 . Irenaeus jokes cumbrously, comparing the Valen- 
tinian aeons to vegetables as if, he says, a gourd should bring 
forth a cucumber and this in its turn a melon 2 . Hippolytus, 
indeed, cannot indulge in such j eers because to do so would have 
stamped him in the opinion of all the learned of his time as an 
uneducated barbarian, his pet theory of Gnosticism being that 
all ita,,4actrine was a plagiarism J&coni the .Greek philosophers 
^ficf notably "fybmTPIa/ESr." "* Yet he never loses an opportunity 
~ of calling Valentinus' opinions " worthless " ; and goes out of 
his way to tack on to them the system of the Jewish magician 
Marcus, who, if we can believe the statements of the Fathers, 
exploited the rising sense of religion of the age for his own 
immoral or interested purpose 3 . 

Yet a statement that Tertullian lets drop, as if accidentally, 
may teach us to beware of taking Valentinus* supposed opinions 
on the nature of these hypostases or Persons of the Godhead 
more literally than he did himself. In his treatise against the 
Valentinians the " furious African barrister " is led away by 
the exigencies of his own rhetoric to tell us that there were some 
among them who looked upon all this elaborate description of 
the emanations of the Ogdoad as a figure of speech. All the 
aeons of the Ogdoad were according to them merely attributes 
or names of God. When, they said, God thought of producing 
offspring, He thereby acquired the name of Father ; and because 
his offspring was true, that of Truth ; and because He wished 
to appear in human form, he was called Man ; and because He 

1 Tertullian, adv. Valentinianos, o. 7. 

2 Irenaeus, Bk i. c. 5, 2, p. 106, Harvey. 3 See p. 128 infra. 


100 Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [OH. 

assembled His attributes in His mind and selected from them 
those most proper for His purpose, they were called the Church; 
and as His only (or unique) Son was, as it were, uttered or sent 
forth to mankind, He was called the Word ; and from His powers 
of salvation. Life ; and so on 1 . As we have seen, Valentinus did 
not invent de novo his conception of the Godhead, which bears 
besides evident marks of having been adopted with slight modi- 
fication from that of Simon Magus and the Ophites. This state- 
ment of Tertullian gives us ground therefore for supposing that 
he may really have held the same views respecting the Divine 
Nature as the Catholic Church, merely giving an allegorical 
explanation of the earlier opinions to convince his hearers that 
the teaching of the Apostles was not so subversive of or incon- 
sistent with the way of thinking of the ancient theologians and 
philosophers as some of them thought. Clement of Alexandria 
shows similar comprehensiveness when he said that in the 
Christian faith there are some mysteries more excellent than 
others or, in other words, degrees in knowledge and grace 2 
, that tli.e, Hellenic, philosophy fits- him who studies it for the 
reception of the troth 3 , and that the Christian should rejoice 
in the nartt.6 of Gnostic, so long as he understands that the true 
Gnostic is he who imitates God as far as possible 4 . He even 
goes further, and himself uses the Gnostic method of personifica- 
tion of abstract qualities, as when he says that Reverence is the 
daughter of Law 5 , and Simplicity, Innocence, Decorum, and Love, 
the daughters of Faith 6 . If Valentinus used similar metaphors, 
it by no means follows that he was thereby advocating the 
worship of many gods, which was the accusation most frequently 
brought against him by the Catholic Church. The same accusa- 
tion might with equal propriety be made against John Bunyan 
on account of his Interpreter and his Mr Greatheart* 

But whatever Valentinus' own views with regard to the 
Supreme Being may have been, he could no more escape than 
did Philo or any other Platonist from the difficulty of explaining 

1 Tertullian, adv. Valentinianos, c. 36, 

2 Clem. Alex. Strom. Bk i. c. 1. 

3 Ibid. Bk i. cc. 7, 16. * Ibid. Bk n. c. 19. 
5 Ibid. Bk n. c. 20. 6 Ibid, Bk n. c. 12. 

ix] Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 101 

the connection of this Perfect God with imperfect matter 1 , and 
this had to be the work in his system of an intermediate Power. 
This Power was that Nous or Monogenes whom we have seen 
was the first and unique being produced from the Unknowable 
Father, to whom he seems to have stood in much the same 
relation as the Dionysos of the Orphics did to the supreme Zeus 2 . 
Yet although it was through this lieutenant of the Unknown 
Father that all things were made, he also was too great to act 
directly upon matter. Seeing, says Hippolytus in this con- 
nection, that their own offspring, Logos and Zoe, had brought 
forth descendants capable of transmission, Nous and his partner 
Aletheia returned thanks to the Father of All and offered to 
him a perfect number in the shape of ten aeons 3 . These ten 
aeons were projected like the direct emanations of the Godhead 
in syzygies or pairs, their names being respectively Bythios 
or Deep (EvBco^) and Mixis or Mixture (M/f^s), Ageratos or 
Who Grows not Old ('A^pa-rc?) and Henosis or Oneness 
( f '~Eva)crt,?), Autophyes or Self-Produced (A.vro$>vri<p) and 
Hedone or Pleasure (RSovtf), Akinetos or Who Cannot Be 
Moved (' 'A/aV^ro?) and Syncrasis or Blending (^vy/cpao-i?}, 
Monogenes or the Unique (Movoyevrjs)* and Macaria or Bliss 
(Mafcapia). In like manner, Logos and Zoe wishing to give 
thanks to their progenitors Nous and Aletheia, put forth 
another set, this time an imperfect number, or twelve aeons, 
also arranged in syzygies and called Paraclete 
and Faith ( II Lcms), Fatherly (UarpiKos) and Hope f 
Motherly (M^rpt/eo?) and Love ('AyaTr??), Ever- Thinking 
( 5 Aeti/ou9 7 ) and Comprehension (2vz><w), Of the Church 
and Blessedness (Ma/captor^), Longed-for 
and Wisdom (2o</a). It was through this last, as 
through her namesake in the system of the Ophites, that the 
Divine came to mingle jnth. Matter. 

1 See Chapter VI, voL I. p, 174, supra,. 

2 Clem. Alex. Strom. Bk vn. c. I. 

3 Hippolytus, op. vtt* Bk vx> c. 29, p. 281, Cruice. 4 i.e. Profound. 

5 Not " seH-existent;** "but- maker of his own <j>vcns or nature. 

6 See n. 2, p. 98 supra. 

7 Harvey reads here al&vios " everlasting,'* which makes at least as 
good sense as the other. 

102 Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [OH. 

Before coming to this, however, it will be well to say some- 
thing here about the ideas that seem to lie behind the names 
of this series of aeons numbering, with the first six, twenty-eight 
in all, which thus made up what was known as the Pleroma or 
Fulness of the Godhead. If we arrange them in three families 
or groups according to their parentage, thus : 

Children of Bythos (either alone or with Sige), 
Nous Aletheia. 

' Children of Nous and Aletheia. 

Logos Zoe. 
Bythios Mixis. 
Ageratos Henosis. 
Autophyes Syncrasis. 
Monogenes Macaria. 

Children of Logos and Zoe. 

Anthropos E cclesia. 
Paracletos Pistis. 
Patricos Elpis. 
Metricos Agape. 
Ecclesiasticis Macariotes. 
Theletas Sophia, 

it will be seen that among the elder members of each group, 
that is, the three first syjzygies, Nous- Aletheia, Logos-Zoe, and 
Anthropos-Ecclesia, the name of the male member of each 
syzygy is always that of an actual and concrete concept the 
Mind, the Word, and Man, showing perhaps how thought and 
speech all marked different stages in the evolution of the being 
called the Perfect Man 1 ; while the appellatives of the females 
of each syzygy Truth, Life, and the Church all connote 

1 Some memory of this seems to have enlivened the disputes between 
the Nominalists and Realists of the xmth century. Of. the wrangling of 
the Doctors at the School of Salerno in Longfellow's Golden Legend 

I, with the Doctor Seraphic, maintain 

That the word that's not spoken, but conceived in the brain, 

Is the type of Eternal Generation, 

The spoken word is the Incarnation. 

ix] Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 103 

abstract ideas 1 . With, the Decad put forth by Nous and 
Aletheia, i.e. Bythios-Mixis, Ageratos-Henosis, Autophyes- 
Hedone, Acinetos-Syncrasis, and Monogenes-Macaria, every 
male aeon, as M. Amelineau has pointed out, has for name an 
adjective, while the females are all described by substantives 2 . 
But the names of the male aeons are all epithets or attributes 
peculiar to their father Nous, who is thus said to be the abysmal, 
never-ageing, creator of his own nature, immovable, and 
unique, and those of the female aeons are descriptive of different 
states or conditions arising from his action 3 , M. Amelineau 
thinks that the names of these last describe a successive degrada- 
tion of the Divine Nature ; but this does not seem to have been 
Valentinus 5 intention, and it is hard to see for instance why 
Syncrasis or blending should be more unworthy than Mixis or 
simple mixture. Moreover, this group of aeons, unlike the six 
preceding them, are not reproductive and no direct descendants 
follow from their conjugation. Perhaps then we may best 
understand Valentinus 9 nomenclature as a statement that the 
coming together of Mind and Truth produced Profound Ad- 
mixture, Never-ageing Union, Self-created Pleasure, Unshake- 
able Combination, and Unique Bliss. In like manner, the names 
of the members of the Dodecad or group of twelve aeons pro- 
ceeding from Logos and Zoe may be read as describing the 
Comforting Faith, the Fatherly Hope, the Motherly Love 4 , 
the Everlasting Comprehension, the Elect Blessedness, and the 
Longed-for Wisdom arising from the conjugation of the Word, 
and Life or, in one word, from the Incarnation 5 . 

1 They are also probably places or receptacles. In the Pistis Sophia 
we read repeatedly of the three ^pijpara and of the TOKOS aXr^fias. 

2 Amelineau, Gnost. $gypt. pp. 200 sqq. 

3 So Hope Moulton, Earty Zoroa$triam$m t 1913, p. 114, points out that 
half of the Persian Amshaspands or archangels bear names expressing "what 
Mazda is " and the other half ' ' what Mazdagives." There is much likeness, as 
has been said, between the Ainshaspands and the "Hoots" of Simon Magus* 

* It is worth noticing that these are the three " theological " virtues, 
Faith, Hope, and Charity. 

5 Hippolytus, op. tit. Bk vi^c. 23, pp. 269-271, Cruice, wishes to make 
out that all this is derived from what he calls the " Pythagorean " system 
of numbers. Anyone wishing to pursue these "silly cabalisms" further is 
recommended to read Harvey's Introduction to Valentinus' system, op, 
tit. pp. cxv-cxvii. 

104 Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [OH. 

To return now to the fall of Sophia which, in the system of 
Valentinus, as in that of the Ophites, brought about the creation 
of the universe. All the accounts of Valentinus' teaching that 
have reached us seem to agree that Sophia's lapse was caused, 
according to him, not by accident as with the Ophites, but by 
her own ignorance and emulation. Leaving the Dodecad, " this 
twelfth and youngest of the aeons," as Hippolytus describes 
her 1 , soared on high to the Height of the Father, and perceived 
that he, the Unknowable Father, was alone able to bring forth 
without a partner 2 . Wishing to imitate him, she gave birth 
by herself and apart from her spouse, " being ignorant that only 
the Ungenerated Supreme Principle and Root and Height and 
Depth of the Universes can bring forth alone." " For," says 
he (i.e. Valentinus), " in the ungenerated (or unbegotten) all 
things exist together. But among generated (or begotten) 
things, it is the female who projects the substance, while the 
male gives form to the substance which the female has pro- 
jected 3 ." Hence the substance which Sophia put forth was 
without form and unshapen an expression which Valentinus 
.seems to have copied, after his manner, from the " without form 
and void " ajLos teal dfcarao-Ktvao-Tos) of Genesis 4 . 

TO Se r>i> Se/caSvo 6 SooSe/caros- /cat i/eooraros 1 <rravr<*>v T&V fi* 
Aivvotv, 6rj\vs oov KOL KoXovfj-tvos 2o<ta, Karfvorjcre rti 7r\r}Qas /cat rrjv dwvofiu' 
T<Sv ycyW7)KQTG>v Ata>i/a>v, /cat dvedpafjLev els TO (SaQos r<5> rov Harp off. "But 
the twelfth of the twelve, and the youngest of aU the eight and twenty 
aeons, who is a female and called Sophia, considered the number and power 
of those aeons who were begotten (?) and went on high to the height of the 
Father " : Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk vi. c. 30, p. 283, Cruice. The " eight 
and twenty aeons " shows that Valentinus, according to Hippolytus, did 
not reckon Bythos and Sige in the first Ogdoad. 

2 A further proof that the primitive doctrine of Valentinus did not 
give a spouse to Bythos. 

8 *Ei> p.j> yhp T6) ayevvr]T(dj (prjcriv, ecrn rrdvra (5/AOU * (6(J,ov Seems 

here to mean ** without distinction of time or place." Cf. the " None 
is afore or after other " of the Athanasian Creed) <rV de rols yev^roif, r6 
ficv 6fj\v e<mv ova-las rrpopXijrLKov, TO 8e appev /jLop<pa>TLK&v rrjs &7T& TQV 
6fj\u>s TrpQpdKXofLevTjs ovcrtay. Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk VI. c. 30, p. 284, 

4 Kai TOVTO eoTi, <f)rjariv 9 6 Xeyet Ma)ucr7fs" "17 ^ yrj tfv aaparoff Kal <l/cara- 
tTKevcurTos" " And this, he says, is the saying of Moses. c And the earth 
was invisible and unshapen ' ^ a curious variant of the A.V., 

ix] Post- Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 105 

This Ectroma or abortion of Sophia, however, caused great 
alarm to the other members of the Pleroma, who feared that 
they might themselves be led into similar lapses, and thus bring 
about the destruction of the whole system. They accordingly 
importuned Bythos, who ordered that two new aeons, viz. 
Christos or Christ and the Holy Spirit, should be put forth by 
Nous and Aletheia to give form and direction to the Ectroma 
and to alleviate the distress of Sophia 1 . This was accordingly 
done, and this new pair of aeons separated Sophia from her 
Ectroma and drew her with them within the Pleroma, which 
was thereupon closed by the projection by Bythos of yet 
another aeon named the Cross (^.ravpo?)*, whose sole function 
was apparently to preserve the Pleroma or Divine World from 
all contamination from the imperfection which was outside 3 . 
This last aeon being, says Hippolytus, born great, as brought 
into existence by a great and perfect father, was put forth as 
a guard and circum valla tion for the aeons, and became the 
boundary of the Pleroma, containing within him all the thirty 

loc. dt. He goes on to say that this is "the good and heavenly Jerusalem/' 
the land in which the children of Israel are promised milk and honey. It 
should be noticed, however, that even this unshapen being, like all the 
Sophias, was identified with the Earth. 

1 Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk vr. c. 31. pp. 284, 285. Irenaeus, Bk i. cc. 1, 4, 
p. 21, Harvey, says that Monogenes [Nous] put forth {irpoftdKe) the 
pair Kara 7rpopf}Qeiav rov Harpos, apparently without the aid of his 
partner Aletheia. Hippolytus* account is the simpler, as making all the 
Pleroma thus descend from a single pair, and is therefore, probably, the 

2 Hippolytus, loc. cit., says that this new aeon was called "Qpos "Horos/* 
or " The Limit/' because he separates the Pleroma or Fulness from the 
Hysterema or Deficiency (i.e. that which lacks God), which is one of those 
puns which will be familiar to all Egyptologists (see Erman, Life in Anc&ewt 
Egypt, Eng. ed. p. 396, for other examples). He is also said to have been 
called Metocheus or the Partaker, because he shares in the Deficiency, 
doubtless as being partly outside the Pleroma. His name of Horus was 
probably suggested by that of the old Egyptian god whose figure must have 
been familiar to every Alexandrian. In the nnd century A.D., this last 
generally appears with hawk's head and human body dressed in the cuirass 
and boots of a Roman gendarme or stationarius, which would be appro- 
priate enough for a sentinel or guard. 

2 Hippolytus, toe. cit. pp. 284, 285, Cruice. 

106 Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [OIL 

aeons together. Outside this boundary remained Sophia's 
Ectroma, whom Christ and the Holy Spirit had fashioned into 
an aeon as perfect as any within the Pleroma ; and she, like her 
mother, is now called Sophia, being generally distinguished from 
c< the last and youngest of the aeons " as the Sophia Without 1 . 
This Sophia Without the Pleroma was by no means at 
peace within herself. She is represented as having been 
afflicted with great terror at the departure of Christos and the 
Holy Spirit from her, when they left her to take their places 
within the Pleroma, and as grieving over her solitude and " in 
great perplexity " as to the nature of the Holy Spirit. Hence 
she turned herself to prayers and supplications to Christos, the 
being who had given her form, and these prayers were heard. 
Meanwhile, the thirty aeons within the Pleroma had resolved, 
on finding themselves safe within the guard of Stauros, to 
glorify the Father or Bythos by offering to him one aeon who 
should partake of the nature of each, and was therefore called 
the "Joint Fruit of the Pleroma 2 ." This was Jesus "the 
Great High Priest," who, on coming into existence was sen,t 
outside the Pleroma at the instance of Christos in order that 
he might be a spouse to the Sophia Without and deliver her 
from her afflictions 3 . This he did, but the four passions of 

1 Hippolytus, loc. tit* pp. 286, 287, Cruice. Christ and the Holy Spirit, 
Laving discharged the duty laid upon them, have retired with Sophia 
" the youngest of the aeons " within the Pleroma and cannot again issue 

2 Hippolytus, op. tit. c. 32 : oev avrols y^ p6vov KCIT& <rvvyiav Sefio- 
aKvat,rbv vtov, bo^dcrat, [e] KCU dia 7rpocr(popas KapTr&v grpeTrcJvrcov TOO Harp/. 

"It seemed good to them [the aeons of the Pleroma] not only to magnify the 
Son by conjunction, but also by an offering of pleasing fruits to the Father." 
So in the mysteries of Isis, Osiris is called the fruit of the vine Dionysos. 
See Athenagoras, Legatid. c. xxn. Plainly Bythos and Nous or Monogenes 
are here represented as Father and Son as in the Ophite myth. The new 
projection is necessary to accord with the text about the whole Pleroma 
dwelling together bodily in Jesus. Of. Colossians i. 19. 

9 The expression 6 apx^pfits 6 ptyas is repeated by Clement of 
Alexandria, Protrept. c. xn, possibly with reference to this passage. It 
may be noticed, however, that Jesus is here also made the Messenger or 
Ambassador of the Light as with the Ophites, It will be seen later that be 
occupies the same place with the Manichaeans. CL Chapter XIII, infra. 

ix] Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinns 107 

Sophia, namely, fear, grief, perplexity, and supplication, having 
once been created could not be destroyed, but became separate 
and independent beings. f ThusJ.t SSBSJ?^* J^ter came ^ to 
being^ a|id was itself the creaJwnjoJE the Deity, instead of being ; 
as in the earlier systems, of independent origin. For Jesus 
" changed her fear into the substance which is psychic or 
animal (ov&ia ^y%^), her grief into that which is hylic or 
material, and her perplexity into the substance of demons 1 . 5 ' 
Of her supplication, however, Jesus made a path of repentance 
(o$bv eVl peTavoiav} and gave it power over the psychic sub- 
stance. This psychic substance is, says Yalentinus, a " con- 
suming fire " like the God of Moses, and the Demiurge or 
Architect of the Cosmos, and is called the "Place" (TOTTO?) 
and the Hebdomad or Sevenfold Power, and the Ancient of 
Days, and is, if Hippolytus has really grasped Valentinus' 
opinions on the point, the author of death 2 . He and his realm 
come immediately below that of Sophia Without, here some- 
what unexpectedly called the Ogdoad, where Sophia dwells with 
her spouse Jesus 3 . His sevenfold realm is, it would seem, the 
seven astronomical heavens, of which perhaps the Paradise of 
Adam is the fourth 4 . Below this again comes this world, the 

1 Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk vi. c. 32, p. 289, Cruice. 

2 Ibid. p. 290, Gniice. Kara rovro roivvv r6 pepos, Svrjrf] TLS <rrlv 
f) ^vx 7 ?) ILG&OTTJS TLS o$<ra' <rrt yap 'EjSSo/ias *ai Kardirava-is. "According 
to this, therefore," [he has just said that fire has a twofold power, 
for there is a fire which devours everything and which cannot be 
extinguished] " part (of the Demiurge) is a certain soul which is subject 
to death, and a certain substance which occupies a middle place. For it 
is a Hebdomad and a laying to rest." The passage is not easy, but seems 
to mean that some of the souls made by the Demiurge are mortal, while 
others are susceptible of salvation. Of. n. 1, p. 109, infra. The name 
Hebdomad evidently refers to the seven astronomical heavens under the 
rule of the Demiurge, and the title " Ancient of Days n identifies him, like 
the Jaldabaoth of the Ophites, with the God of the Jews. 

3 Called Ogdoadas or eighth, because it is next above the seven heavens ; 
but Sophia, the 28th, was the last of the aeons. We see, therefore, that 
Valentinus, like the Ophites of the diagram, is reckoning forwards and 
backwards in the most confusing way. 

* So Irenaeus, Bk i. c. 1, 9, pp. 44, 45, Harvey, says that they [the 
Valentinians] say that the seven heavens are endowed with intelligence 
and that they suppose them to be angels, and that the Demiurge 

108 Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [OH. 

Cosmos, ruled by a hylic or material Power called the Devil 
(A*a/3oXo9) or Cosmocrator, not further described by Valentinus 
but apparently resembling the Satan of the New Testament 1 . 
Lowest of all is unformed and unarranged matter, inhabited by 
the demons, of whom Beelzebub, as in the Gospels, is said to 
be the chief 2 . We have then four " places " outside the Pleroma 
or Godhead, arranged in a succession which reckoning from above 
downwards may be thus summed up : 

1. The Heaven of Sophia called the Ogdoad, wherein dwell 
Sophia Without and her spouse Jesus 3 . 

is himself an angel like God. Also that Paradise is a heaven above the 
third, and that a fourth angel rules (?) there, and that from him Adam 
took somewhat while talking to him. Whatever this story may mean, it is 
curious to see how readily the Gnostics identified in name a heavenly place 
with its ruler, as in the titles of kings and peers. 

1 Irenaeus, Bk I. c. 1, 10, pp. 47, 48, Harvey, says that the Devil or 
Cosmocrator and all the spiritual things of evil (TO, TrvevparLKa TTJS Trovyptas) 
were made out of the pain (\virr)) of Sophia, and that he is the creation 
of the Demiurge, but knows what is above him, because he is a spirit, while 
his creator is ignorant that there is anything higher than himself, because 
he is only ruler of animal things (-v^u^i/ca vTrdp^ovra). In this, which is 
probably the teaching of Ptolemy, Valentinus' successor is seen to be 
reverting to the Ophite ideas. Hippolytus, who here probably gives us 
Valentinus' own doctrine, says on the other hand (op. ciL Bk vi. c. 33, 
pp. 290, 291, Cruice) : "Qcnrep ovv rrjs tyv)(LK.rjs ovcriaf f) TTptbrr) xal fj.fyio'Trj 
bvvap,^ yeyovev etxcbv [the text is here restored by Cruice: TOV povoywovs 

VLOVy OVTG) TT)S vXLKTJf pUCTLaS 8vvapis] ltl/3oAoff, 6 ap^OJJ/ TOV K6(TfJLOV TOVTOV 

rrjf de T>V daipovnv ovcrias^ fjTts ecrrlv etc. TTJS airoptas, 6 BeeXV/3ot;. 
" As therefore the first and greatest power of the animal substance (the 
Demiurge) came into being as the image of the unique son (Nous), so the 
power of the material substance is the Devil, the Kuler of this world ; 
and Beelzebud [the power] of the substance of demons which came into 
being from the perplexity" (of Sophia). It has been shown elsewhere 
(P.S.B.A. 1901, pp. 48, 49) that this Beelzebud or Beejbsebuth is written 
in the Magic Papyri Jabezebuth or Yahweh Sabaoth, probably in pursuance 
of the parallelism which gives every god or superior power his correspondent 
personality in the inferior or evil world. In all magic, mediaeval or other- 
wise, Beekebuth is carefully distinguished from Satan. 

2 Matthew x. 25, xii 24, 27 ; Mark iii. 22 ; Luke xi. 15, have 
p\ftov\, while the Peshitto writes the more familiar Beelzebub. 
See P.S.B.A. quoted in last note. 

3 Called also the Heavenly Jerusalem. Hippolytus, op. tit. Bk vi. 
c. 32, p. 290, Cruice. 

ix] Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 109 

2. The Sevenfold World called the Hebdomad created and 
ruled by the Demiurge or Ancient of Days. 

3. Our own ordered world or Cosmos created by the Demi- 
urge but ruled by the Devil. 

4. Chaos or unarranged Matter ruled by Beelzebub, Prince 
of the Demons. 

Much of this may be due to the desire apparently inborn in 
natives of Egypt to define- with excessive minuteness the togo- 
s graphy of the invisible world ; but the disposition of these 
"3il5BrMt*'Ilulers was by no means a matter of indifference to 
mankind. The Demiurge, as in the Ophite system, was not, 
indeed, bad, but foolish and blind, not knowing what he did, nor 
why he created man. Yet it is he who sends forth the souls of 
men which reach them at their birth and leave them at their 
death. Hence, says Hippolytus, he is called Psyche or Soul as 
Sophia is called Pneuma or Spirit. But this soul of man is little 
else than what we call the life, and here as in all else the Demiurge 
is controlled without knowing it by his mother Sophia, who 
from her place in the Heavenly Jerusalem directs his operations. 
The bodies of men the Demiurge makes from that hylic and 
diabolic substance which is matter 1 , and the soul which comes 

1 Irenaeus, Bk I. c. 1, 10, p. 49, Harvey : 

reTToirjK.^vai KOI TOV avQpairov TOV ;(oucdv OVK. airb TCLVTTJS de rij? 
r)pas yys, aXX* airb TTJS dopdrov ov<rias, CLTTO TOV <%v[j.vov /cat pevcrrov 
rrjs v\rj$ Xa/3di>ra- /cat els TOVTOV ep.ipvcrfjo'on. TOV ^TV^IKOV dtopi^ovrat. 
ct Having indeed fashioned the world, he (the Demiurge) made material 
man ; not taking him out of this dry earth, but from the unseen substance, 
from the poured forth and liquid matter, and into him, they declare, he 
breathed that which is of the soul." Although this might be taken for a 
Ptolemaic elaboration or embroidery of Valentinus' own doctrine, it is 
repeated in almost identical words in the Exc&rpta Tkeodoti of Clement of 
Alexandria, which represent the teaching of the Oriental School, and it 
is therefore possibly the statement of Valentinus himself. Hippolytus, op. 
cit. Bk vr. c. 34, p. 29&, Gruice, is quite in accord with this. Irenaeus says 
later (Bk I. c. 1, 11) with reference to the body of Jesus : /cm V\LKOV e 
ov* QTIOVV l\rj(j)vai, \eyov<nv ourov pv) yhp en/at ryv v\rjv SeKTiKyv <ra>TTjpia$. 
"And they say that He took on Himself nothing whatever of matter; 
for matter is not susceptible of salvation." !Yom which it is to be inferred 
that Valentinus rejected the resurrection of the body. 

110 Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [OH. 

from him dwells within it as in an inn, into which all may enter. 
Sometimes, says Valentinus and in this instance at least we 
know it is he, not one of his followers, who is speaking the 
soul dwells alone and sometimes with demons, but sometimes 
with Logoi or " words," who are heavenly angels sent by Sophia 
Without and her spouse the Joint Fruit of the Pleroma into 
this world, and who dwell with the soul in the earthly body, 
when it has no demons living with it 1 . After leaving the body 
of matter, the soul will even be united with its especial angel in 
a still more perfect manner, as is a bridegroom with his bride 2 , a 

1 Irenaeus, Bk i. c. 1, 4, p. 23, Harvey, says that when Jesus, the 
Joint Fruit of the Pleroma, was projected, Angels of the same kind as 
himself (<5/Aoyei/ij) were projected with him as a guard of honour. That 
these are the spiritual spouses of the souls of men is confirmed by Hippo- 
lytus, op. cit. Bk vi. c. 34, p. 292, according to Cruice's emendation : 
* Trod iff prjrai KOL TO, ev TTJ 'Oy^oaSi, KOL Trpo/Se^Kacrtv 1} Scxjkm, TJTLS eVri 
/ATJTJJP Trdvr&v T&V fcavrcov /car' avrovs, KOL 6 K.OIV&S rot) nX^pcb/zaros- Kapirbs 6 
Aoyos-, [KOI] OLTives elcrlv ayyeXot eTroupamot, TroAtrevo/zei/oi v 'lepovcraXyp. rfj 
ai/a>, TT} ev ovpavots. " The things which are in the Ogdoad also are sub- 
divided, and there proceed (from it) Sophia who is, according to them, the 
Mother of All Living, and the Joint Fruit of the Pleroma, the Logos, and 
there are certain heavenly angels who are citizens of the Jerusalem which 
is above, that which is in the heavens." So later (ibid, p. 293, Cruioe) . . . 
OLTives clan Xoyoi ofvo>$ej> Kar(r < jrapp,VOL a?r6 rov ROIVOV rov nX^pwjuaros- 


XOiKfp ftera ^^xn^ orav daifj-oves ^ (Tuvot/cc5<rt ry ^v^y;. * e There ar 
certain Logoi sown from above in the world by the Joint Fruit of the 
Pleroma and Sophia, which dwell in the material body with the soul, when 
there are no demons dwelling with it." Clement of Alexandria, in Strom, 
Bk v. c. 14, points out that the notion of demons dwelling with the soul 
is to be found in Plato, and quotes the passage from the Vision of Er (Rep. 
Bk x. c. 15) about the souls of men between births each receiving from the 
hand of Lachesis a demon as their guides through life. It is more likely, 
however, to have been derived from the Zoroastrian belief in the Fravashis 
or Ferouers, celestial spirits who live with Ahura Mazda and the powers 
of light, until they are sent on earth to be joined with the souls of men, 
and to combat the powers of Ahriman (see L. C. Casartelli, La PhllosopHe 
Rdigieuse du Mazdtisme, Paris, 1884, pp. 76-80, for references). Of. 
Hope Moulton, op. vtt. c. vm. passim. 

2 Irenaeus, Bk I. c. 1, 12, p. 59, Harvey : Tovs di Tn/ev/AartKovs- airo- 
dvcrafjifvovs rAs TJAU^O$ KOL iryevpara vocpa yevopevovsj a<parr]r<^s al ao 
evrbs TrXT/pa^aros lcr\66vras vvp-^as drroftaOrjarecrQai rots- irepl rov 

ix] Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 111 

state which is sometimes spoken of as "the Banquet," and seems 
connected with what has been said above about the meeting of 
Jesus the Joint Fruit with the Sophia Without 1 . Yet this is 
not a question of conduct or free will, but of predestination, 
and seems to mark the chief practical difference between 
Valentinus on the one hand and the Ophites and the pre-Christian 
Gnostics on the other. The Ophites, as we have seen, believed 
in the threefold nature of the soul, or its composition from the 
pneumatic or spiritual, the psychical or animal, and the choic 
or earthly, all which elements were thought to be present in 
everyone. But they held, following their predecessors the 
Orphici, that these divisions corresponded to what may be 
called degrees of grace, and that it was possible for man to 
pass from one category to the other, and become wholly pneu- 
matic or psychic or earthly. Valentinus, however, introduces 
a different idea and makes the distinction between the three 

dyyeAoty. "And the Spirituals, or Pneumatis, doffing their souls and 
becoming intelligent spirits, shall enter unperceived and unseen within the 
Pleroma, and shall be given as brides to the angels about the Saviour." 
This suggestion, -which completely shocked the modesty of Tertullian, may 
be connected with the Zoroastrian idea of the virgin who appears to the 
believer as his conductor at the bridge Chinvat. See Chapter XII, infra* 

1 This appears in the JUxcerpta TTieodoti, fr. 63, Migne's Patrol. Graeci, 
t. IX. CoL 689 : *H p,ev ovv TrvcvpaTiKav avdirav<rt,s cv KvpiaKfl ev 'OySoadi ^ 
KvptaKT) ovoyLCL^GTai' Trapa TJJ /J-iJTpl e^ovra ras ^v^as TO. eVdu/x,ara axpi 
<ruvT\ia$* at de aXXat moral ^n^ai rrapa ra> A^/uoupy <5 * irepl de rr}v 
crvvT\Lav ava^povcri KCU dVTol tf 'Oy&oa&if. Efra TO ^CLTTVOV rov 
KOLVQV TrdvTtav r&v o"a)a>$!i>r<v, a^pt? &v airi(T<^6^ iravTa KCU aX\ 
" Therefore the repose of the Spirituals in [the dwelling] of the Lord, 
that is, in the Ogdoad, is called the Lord's rest " (of. Irenaeus, Bk i. 
cc, 1, 9, p. 46, Harvey): "the garments [i.e. natures] containing the 
souls [will remain] with the Mother until the Consummation. And the 
other faithful souls (will remain) with the Demiurge ; and at the Con- 
summation they will withdraw, and they also will go into the Ogdoad, 
Then will be the Wedding Feast of all those who are saved until all things 
shall be made equal and all tilings mutually made known." This heavenly 
banquet, of which we may be quite sure Valentinus made the Marriage in 
Cana a type, will be met with again in the worship of Mithras (Chapter XII, 
infra). But it was also well known to the Orphics (see Abel's Orphica, 
Frag. 227, etc.), and the question repeats itself : Did the Orphics borrow 
the idea from the Persians, or the Mithraists from the Orphics ? 

112 Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [OH. 

different categories of human souls one not of degree, but of 
essence 1 . Men have not a threefold soul, but belong to one 
of three classes, according to the source of their souls. Either 
they are pneumatic, i.e. spiritual, belonging wholly to Sophia, 
or psychic, that is animated by the Demiurge alone and therefore 
like him foolish and ignorant although capable of improvement, 
or hylic, that is formed wholly of matter and therefore subject 
to the power of the demons 2 . Nothing is said explicitly by 
Hippolytus as to how this division into classes is made ; but 
we know by other quotations from Valentinus himself that this 
is the work of Sophia who sends the Logoi or Words into such 
souls as she chooses, or rather into those which she has created 
specially and without the knowledge of the Demiurge 3 . 

The consequences of this division upon the future of man- 
kind generally also differed materially from that of the Ophitic 
scheme. Only the pneumatics or spiritual men are by nature 

1 Valentinus may have found this doctrine in Egypt, where as Maspero 
points out (t. iSgyptol. i. p. 398) only the rich and noble were thought 
to enjoy the life beyond the grave. 

2 Valentinus 5 remark about the Cosmocrator being superior in knowledge 
to the Demiurge because he is a spirit (see n. 1, p. 108 supra) much 
complicates the problem, and brings us pretty near to the Dualism of the 
Avesta. That all matter was in Valentinus' opinion transitory appears 
from Irenaeus, Bk I. c. 1, 13, where it is said that when all the seed scat- 
tered by Sophia in the world, i.e. the souls of the Pneumatici, is gathered 
in, the fire which is within the Cosmos shall blaze forth and after destroying 
all matter shall be extinguished with it. 

3 Clem. Alex., Strom. Bk n. c. 8, quotes an epistle of Valentinus in which 
he speaks of the terror of the angels at the sight of man because of the 
things which he Spoke : Sta TQV doparoos- ev avrq crTrfyfia 5e$fio/cora rrjs 
avtoBcv ovtria.S') K.OL Trapprjo'La^o^ievov " because of that within him which 
yielded a germ of the substance on high, and spoke freely." So Irenaeus, 
Bk I. c. 1, 10, p. 51, Harvey : "'EXaQev ovv, &s <acri, rbv Arjfjuovpybv 6 
(rvyKaTacr'rrapels ro> ep<l>vo"f)paTi avrov VTT& rrjs 2o0ia? TrvevparLK^s dv@pQ37ro)v 

[&vdpo><rro$] appj?ra) [adj. dwdpei KCU] Trpovotq.. *' It escaped the Demiurge, 
therefore, as they say, that the man whom he had formed by his breath 
was at the same time made spiritual by Sophia with unspeakable power 
and foresight." So that, as Irenaeus says a few lines later, man has his 
soul from the Demiurge, his body from Chaos, his fleshly part (r^ vapKiKbv) 
from matter, and his spiritual man from the Mother, Achamoth [i.e. 
" Wisdom "]. 

ix] Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 113 

immortal or deathless, and when they leave the material body 
go on high to the Ogdoad or Heaven of Sophia, where she sits 
with Jesus the " Joint Fruit " of the Pleroma 1 . The hylics or 
men who are wholly material perish utterly at death, because 
their souls like their bodies are corruptible 2 . There remain the 
psychic the " natural men " of the New Testament 3 who are 
not so to speak " saved " ; but are yet capable of salvation. 
How was this salvation to be brought about ? 

Valentinus seems to have answered this by saying, as any 
Catholic Christian would have done at the time, that it was 
through the Divine Mission of Jesus. Yet this Jesus, according 
to Valentinus or the Valentinian author from whom Hippolytus 
draws his account, was neither Jesus the Joint Fruit of the 
Pleroma, who according to them remained with his spouse 

1 Clem. Alex. Strom. Bk iv. c. 13, quoting " a certain homily " (ris 
ojLuXia) of Valentinus : 'ATT* dp^fjsr aSavaroi eorc, KCLL Teuva <*>rj$ ecrre ala>vias 
ic at TOV fldvarov ^#eXere />ieptcraer#at els eavrovs, tva ftarravqcr^re avrov KOI 
dva\axrr)T6 KCLL airodavri 6 Oavaros V vjuv KOL fit vpa>v. "Orav yap TOV p,ev 
Kocrpov XuTyre, vfj.eis de KaraXi^o-tfe, KvpLcvcre TTJS Kricr^tas KCL\ TTJS (f>&opas &7rd(ri]S. 
"You were deathless from the beginning and the children of life everlasting, 
and you wish to share out death among you, in order that you may dissipate 
and destroy it and that death may die in and by you ; for when you put 
an end to the world and are yourselves put an end to, you have rule over 
creation and all corruption." So one of the documents of the PistM 
Sophia speaks of this world being finally consumed by the fire " which 
the perfect wield." It was doubtless such predictions which gave colour 
to the charge of incendiarism made by the Roman authorities against 
the Christians generally. For the translation of the pneumatics to the 
Ogdoad see next note. 

2 Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk vi. c. 31, p. 290, Cruice ; 'Eaj> e 9 cyiaw># Ttns 
aW ev J 0y$oafa, aQdvaTOS fyevfro KOI rfXBev els TTJV *Oy$oa8a JJTIS etrri, farar, 
'lepwontijp. *mn>pdvto? lav Se e^o^ot^B^ iy v\y> TOVTCOTI Tolf ira&fo-t, TOLS 
v\i*<w, <f>4*fw. ^ Kal aarfam. " If [the soal] be of the likeness of those 
on high in the >Ogdaad, it is born deathless smd goes to the Ogdoad which 
is, he says, tine heavenly Jerusalem ; but if it be of the likeness of matter, 
that is, if it belongs to the material passion it is corruptible and is utterly 

3 i/^xtKos- a0p&ieo* tBaaaslated m tte A,V. by "natural mam" 
evidently means in the Valemtinian sense those who are animated or ma-^e 
had breathed into them the breath of life merely. It has nothing to do wife 
soul as we understand the term. 

L. n. 8 

114 Post-Christian G-nostics: Valentinus [OH. 

Sophia in the Heavenly Jerusalem, nor Christos who with his 
consort the Holy Spirit was safe within the Pleroma. He was 
in effect a third saviour brought into being especially for the 
salvation of all that is worth saving in this devil-ruled and 
material world, in the same way that Christos and his consort 
had saved the first Sophia after she had given birth to the 
monstrous Ectroma, and as Jesus the Joint Fruit had saved 
this Ectroma itself. It is very probable, as M. Am&ineau has 
shown with great attention to detail, that every system, perhaps 
every universe, had according to Valentinus its own saviour, 
the whole arrangement being part of one vast scheme for the 
ordering and purifying of all things 1 . Hence Valentinus ex- 
plains, as the Ophites had failed to do, that salvation spreads 
from above downwards and that the redemption of this world 
was not undertaken until that of the universe of the Demiurge 
Had been effected 2 . The Demiurge and the statement has 
peculiar significance if we consider him the God of the Jews 
had been taught by Sophia Without that he was not the sole 
God, as he had imagined, and had been instructed and " initiated 
into the great mystery of the Father and the Aeons 3 ." Although 

1 Amelineau, Gnost. $g. p. 225. 

2 Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk vi. c. 36, pp. 297, 298, Cruioe : "ESa ovv 

/xeVoJi' ra>v ava KOTO. TTJV avrrjv aKO\ov6iav /cat rcit fvddde ri/^elv L<t>p6d>- 
" Wherefore when things on high had been put straight, it had to be 
according to the law of sequences that those here below should be put 
straight also." 

3 Hippolytus, op. cit. p. 297, Cruice : ^M^Qrj yap VTT& TTJS Scx^/ay 6 
A^juioupyoff, on ov< eo-riv avrbs Qeos povos as ev6fjt,tc y <ai Tr\r)V CLVTOV Zrepos 
(OVK) ecrnv aXV lyvco Bida^dels vvrb rrjs So^tW T&V Kpeirrova' Karrj^dr} yap 
t;7r* avrr}$, KOL jjivf)Qr) KOL edi^dx^ T& fj.ya rov XLarphs KCU T>V &ltov<&v 
fLv<rrr)ptov, K.OL f^el-jrev avrb ovdevi, K.r.X. " For the Demiurge had been 
taught by Sophia that he was not the only God -and that beside him there 
was none other, as he had thought ; but through Sophia's teaching he 
knew better. Eor he had been instructed and initiated by Sophia, and 
had been taught the great mystery of the Father and of the Aeons, and 
had declared it to none " in support of which the statement in Exodus 
(vL 2, 3) about being the God of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, but " by my 
name Jehovah was I not known unto them " is quoted. The identifica- 
tion by Valentinus of the Demiurge with the God of the Jews is therefore 

ix] Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 115 

it is nowhere distinctly stated, it seems a natural inference that 
the same lot will fall to the psychic men who are, like the 
Demiurge, " soul " rather than " spirit," and that they will 
receive further instruction in the Heaven of Sophia. Thus, he 
continues, the lapses 1 of the Demiurge had been set straight and 
it was necessary that those here below should go through the 
same process. Jesus was accordingly born of the Virgin Mary ; 
He was entirely pneumatic, that is His body was endowed with 
a spiritual soul, for Sophia Without herself descended into Mary 
and the germ thus sown by her was formed into a visible shape 
by the operation of the Demiurge 2 . As for His Mission, it 
seems to have consisted in revealing to man the constitution of 
the worlds above Mm, the course to be pursued by him to attain 
immortality, and to sum up the whole matter in one word, the 
^g^MJ^^kaowledge^tiiat jw^s nec^^s^^LJbo ^ate&tiiQn 3 . 

Here the account of the teaching of Valentinus, which has 
been taken almost entirely from the Philosophumena or from 
quotations from his own words in trustworthy writers like 

" stumblings," Hippolytus, loc. cit. 

2 Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk vi. c. 35, p. 295, Cruice. I have taken what 
seems on comparison to be the original form of Valentinus' teaching. 
In the same chapter, Hippolytus tells us that his followers were divided 
on the question of the composition of the body of Jesus the Italic School 
led by Heracleon and Ptolemy averring that it was psychic and that at 
Hia baptism only the rrveO/wx came upon Him as a dove, while the 
Oriental School of Axionicus and Bardesanes maintained that it was 
pneumatic from the first. Cf. n. 2, p. 116 infra. 

3 Amelineau, Gnost. Sg. p. 226. The Exc&rpta Theodoti, on which he 

relies, says (fr. 78) : Me'^/H rot/ /SaTrricrftaroy ovv 77> <paa-Lv y 
fjt,T&. TOVTO OVK en aXr)6vov<Tiv ol actTpa\6yoL. ^Ecrrt Se ov TO \ovrpov I 
eXevQfpovv, aXXa /cat 17 yvaxris rivts ^ey, TL -yj6vapfv t TTOV rjfJtfv 
V$\7)6r}iJ,ev, TTOV crirev8ofj.v, Tro&ev Xvrpov/A6#a, TL yevvrfo'is TL ava 
** Until baptism then, they say the destiny [he is talking of that which is 
foretold by the stars] holds good; but thereafter the astrologers* pre- 
dictions are no longer unerring- For the [baptismal] font not only sets 
us free, but is also the Gnosis which teaches us what we are, why we have 
come into being, where we are, or whither we have been cast up, whither 
we are hastening, from what we have been redeemed, why there is birth, 
and why re-birth/' For baptism was to the Valentinian initiation, and a 
mystagogue of Eleusis would have expressed himself no differently. 


116 Post- Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [OH. 

Clement of Alexandria, abruptly ends, and we are left to con- 
j ecture. We cannot therefore say directly what Valentinus him- 
self taught about the Crucifixion. Jesus, the historical Jesus 
born of the Virgin Mary, though purely pneumatic or spiritual 
at the outset, received according to one account some tincture 
of the nature of all the worlds through which He had descended, 
and must therefore, probably, have had to abandon successive 
parts of His nature, as He reascended 1 . Probably, therefore, 
Valentinus thought that the Spiritual or Divine part of Him 
left Him before the Passion, and that it was only His material 
body that suffered 2 . As we shall see later, this idea was much 
elaborated by the later Gnostics, who thought that all those 
redeemed from this world would in that respect have to imitate 
their Great Exemplar. If this be so, it is plain that it was 
only that part of the soul of Jesus which He had received from 
Sophia which returned to her, and was doubtless re-absorbed 
in her being. Yet there is nothing to make us believe that 
Vale&tinus did not accept the narrative of the Canonical 

1 Irenaeus, Bk i. c. 1, 13, pp. 60-62, Harvey ; Amelineau, Gnost* 
$g. p. 226, and Excerpta Theodoti there quoted. 

1 Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk vi. c. 35, pp. 295, 296, Cruice: '0 Se 'Iija-ovs^ 
6 KCiivbs avBptoiroS) OTTO HvevfjLaros 'Aytov [/cat rov 'Y^tcrrou], rovreVrt -njs- 
1 /cat rov A^tovp-yov, ti/a rf}v [JLCV rrXacrn/ /cat KaracrKfvrjv TOV cr&fJLaros 

ov 6 Aypiovpybs KaraprtV^i, rrjv $ ovcriav avrov rb liveii^a irapdcr^ r& 
"hyiov-j /cat yevTjTcti A^yos 1 eirovpdvios drr& TTJS 'Qydoddos yfvvijQflf dia Map/af. 
** But Jesus, the new man, [has come into being] by the Holy Spirit and 
by the Highest, that is by Sophia and the Demiurge, so that the Demiurge 
might put together the mould and constitution of His body and that the 
Holy Spirit might provide its substance ; and that He might become the 
Heavenly Logos. . . .when born of Mary." According to this, the body of 
Jesus was a " psychic " or animal one ; yet Hippolytus says immediately 
afterwards (p. 296, Cruice), that it was on this that there was a division 
between the Italic and the Oriental Schools of Valentinians, the former with 
Heracleon and Ptolemy saying that the body of Jesus was an animal one, 
the Holy Spirit coming on Him as a dove at His baptism, while the Orientals 
with Axionicus and Bardesanes maintained that the body of the Saviour 
was pneumatic or spiritual, " the Holy Spirit or Sophia and the power of 
the Highest or Demiurgic art having come upon Mary, in order that what 
was given. to Mary might be put into form." Apparently Valentinus was 
willing to call ttie God of the Jews^Y^ioros- or *' Highest," which H. Oumont 
thinks was his name m, Asia Minor. 

ix] Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 117 

Gospels in full 1 , or to doubt that he taught that Jesus really 
suffered on the Cross, although he doubtless interpreted this 
in his usual fashion, by making it a symbol of the self-sacrifice 
of Jesus the Joint Fruit of the Pleroma, when He left that 
celestial abode to give form and salvation to the miserable 
Ectroma of Sophia 2 . Here again we can but gather Valentinus' 
opinions from those of his followers, who may have altered 
them materially to fit them to the exigencies of a situation of 
which we can form no very precise idea. 

Of these followers we know rather more than in the case of 
any other of the early heresiarchs. According to Tertullian, 
Valentinus was brought up as a Christian, and expected to 
become a bishop of the Catholic Church, " because he was an 
able man both in genius and eloquence 3 ." Ending, Tertullian 
goes on to say, that a confessor 4 was preferred to him, he broke 
with the Church and " finding the track of a certain old opinion " 
(doubtless, the Ophite) " marked out a path for himself." The 
same accusation of disappointed ambition was levelled against 
nearly every other heresiarch at the time, and may serve to 
show how greatly the place of bishop was coveted ; but we have 

1 With the exception of that of St John, since the part of the Pi&is 
Sophia which it is suggested is by Valentinus does not quote it. His fol- 
lowers, however, knew of it, as in the Excerpta Theodoti the opening verse 
rb cv apxf} tfv 6 Aoyos KOL 6 Aoyos- %v Trapa rov 6ecV, KCU Qeos rp> 6 Xoyo<? is 
quoted with the comments of ol drrb TOV OuaXcvrw/ov on it, Cf. Amelineau, 
Qnost. fig. p. 209, where the passage is given in n. 4. 

2 Irenaeus, Bk I. c. 1, 13, pp. 60-d2, Harvey : Eto-i & <n Xcyovres. . : 
*Eira& & Xoifl-ov <ar avrov? 6 ^^IKO*- Xpurras, KOI 6 IK rrjs 
Korecncevacr/m/of p,vorr}pLG)8$>$, V eiri&ifl [6Y] avrov 17 ffffrrjp 
Xpicrrov, 6/eeiVoi; TOV eVwa#eVr<K rq Sravp*S, KCU fio,p<a>craiTo TJ\ 
p.6p<f>a><rw rrjv KOT* overlay iravra yap ravra TVTTOUS exfiv&v fwai \eyovtri. 
et And there are some " (probably the Anatolic or Oriental School is meant) 

" who say And further the animal Christ, He who had been mysteriously 

formed by dispensation, suffered so that the Mother might show forth 
through TTJTYI the type of the Christ on high, of him who is extended by 
Stauros, and gave shape to Aclmmoth BS regards substance : for they say 
that all things here are the types of others there." 

3 Tertullian, adv. Valmtfrnamos, c, iv. 

4 That is, not a martyr, but one who had suffered for the faith without 
losing his life. 

118 Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [OH. 

no means of judging its truth in this particular instance, and it 
is repeated neither by Irenaeus, Hippolytus, nor Clement of 
Alexandria who was in an exceptionally good position for know- 
ing the truth of the case. Irenaeus, however, says that Valen- 
tinus came to Eome during the papacy of Hyginus, flourished 
(t'j/c^aoe) under that of Pius, and dwelt there until that of 
Anicetus ; and this is confirmed "by Eusebius, who connects 
Valentinus' stay in Rome with the reign of Hadrian's successor, 
Antoninus Pius 1 . Tertullian further declares that Valentinus did 
not separate from the Church until the papacy of Bleutherus 2 , 
which did not commence until A.D. 174, and M. Amelineau 
seems therefore well-founded in his inference that Valentinus 
elaborated his system in Egypt while yet in the Church, and 
that he went to Rome in order to impose it upon the rest of the 
faithful 3 . If this be so, it would abundantly account for its 
far closer approximation to the orthodox faith than that of 
the Ophites, from which it appears to have been derived. 
Epiphanius tells us further that after quitting Rome, Valentinus 
died in Cyprus, where he made " a last shipwreck of his faith 4 ." 
Could we place implicit faith in Epiphanius' highly-coloured 
statements, we might gather from this that Valentinus gave a 
fresh turn to his doctrines after finding himself away from the 
great cities in which he had hitherto spent his life. 

However that may be, the time which, on the shortest 
computation, Valentinus passed in Rome was quite sufficient 
for him to set up a school there, and we are not surprised to hear 
that thereafter there was a body of Valentinians in the West, 
which was called the " Italic school." Innovating, as Tertullian 
said all heretics did, upon the system of their founder, they 
taught, as before mentioned, that Sige or Silence was a real 
spouse to the Ineffable Bythos or the Supreme Being and existed 
side by side with Him from eternity 5 . They further said that 

1 Irenaeus, Bk m. c. 4, 1, vol. n. p. 17, Harvey ; Eusebius, Hist. 
Bed. Bk iv. o. 11. Of. Amelineau, Gnost. fig. p. 170. 

2 TertuUiau, de Praescpt. o. xxx. Amelineau, Gnost. $g. p. 175, objects 
to this. 

3 Am&Ineau, Gnost. $g. p. 172, n. 1 ; ibid. p. 175. 

4 Epiphanius, Pan., Eaer. Xxsx o. 2. 

5 Hippolytus, op. tit. Bk vi. o. 35, p. 296, Oruice. 

ix] Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 119 

the Dodecad or group of twelve aeons, of whom Sophia was the 
last, emanated not from Logos and Zoe, but from the third 
syzygy of Anthropos and Ecclesia 1 ; and that the body of the 
historical Jesus was not material but psychic or from the world 
of the Demiurge 2 , which seems to include the -view held by other 
Gnostics that it was a phantasm which only appeared to suffer 
on the Cross, but did not do so in reality. We know the names of 
several of the leaders of this Italic school, among whom were 
Ptolemy, Secundus, and Heracleon. It was the doctrine of the 
first of these apparently flourishing in Gaul in his time, which 
spurred on Irenaeus to write against them 3 ; while Heracleon 
was called by Clement of Alexandria the most distinguished of 
the school of Valentinus and taught in the last-named city 4 . 
Ptolemy's doctrine as described by Irenaeus seems to have 
materially differed from that of his master only in the particulars 
just given ; while Secundus is said by the same heresiologist to 
have divided the First Ogdoad into two tetrads, a right hand 
and a left, one of which he called light and the other darkness 5 . 
Over against this, we hear from Hippolytus of an Eastern 
school (AtSacr/caXta dvaTo\ucr}), which M. Amelineau shows 
satisfactorily to have most closely represented the teaching of 
Valentinus himself 6 , and which was carried on after his death 
by Axionicus and Bardesanes 7 . Of these, Axionicus is said to 
have taught in his native city of Antioch ; while Bardesanes was 
evidently the same as the person called by the Syrians Bar 
Daisan of Edessa, whose name was still great in the time of 
Albiruni 8 . Theodotus, whose writings are quoted at some 
length by Clement of Alexandria, and Alexander, whose argu- 
ments as to the body of Jesus are rebutted by Tertullian, 
probably continued their teaching 9 . 

1 Irenaeus, Bk i. c. 1, 2, p. 13, Harvey. 

2 See n. 2, p. 116 supra. 3 Irenaeus, Prooem. p. 4, Harvey. 

4 Clem. Alex. Strom. Bk iv. c* 9. 

5 Hippolytus, op. tit. Bk vr. c. 38, p. 302, Craice. So Irenaeus, Bk r, 
c. 5, 2, p. 101, Harvey. This appears to be hyperbole rather than dualism; 

6 Amelineau, Qnost. $g. p. 189. 

7 Hippolytus, op. tit. Bk VL c. 35, p. 296, Cruice, 

8 Albiruni, Clvronology of Ancient Nations, ed. Sachau, 1879, pp. 27, 189. 

9 DePaye, Intro, etc. p. 105, n. 1; Tertullian, de Carne Christi, c. xvi. 

120 Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [OH. 

The life of Bar Daisan, of which some particulars have been 
preserved for us by Bar Hebraeus and other Eastern historians 
of the Church, throws considerable light upon the attitude 
towards Christianity of Valentinus and that Anatolic School 
which best represented his teachings. Bar Daisan was born some 
fifty years after Valentinus of rich and noble parents in the town 
of Edessa in Mesopotamia, where he seems to have been edu- 
cated in the company of the future king of the country, Abgar 
Bar Manu 1 . He was probably a Christian from his infancy, early 
became a Christian teacher, and withstood Apollonius, a Pagan 
Sophist who visited Edessa in the train of the Emperor Cara- 
calla, making avowal of his readiness to suffer martyrdom for 
the faith. According to Eusebius, he had the greatest abhor- 
rence of the dualistic doctrine of Marcion and wrote books against 
him in his native Syriac which were afterwards translated into 
Greek 2 . He, or perhaps his son Harmonius 3 , also composed 
a great number of hymns which were sung in the Catholic 
Churches of Mesopotamia and Syria; and it was not until a 
century and a half after his death that Ephrem Syrus, a doctor 
of the now triumphant and persecuting Church, found that 
these abounded in the errors of Valentinus, and deemed it 
necessary to substitute for them hymns of his own composition 4 . 
Valentinus seems in like manner to have lived in Rome as a 
Christian teacher, as we have seen, for at least sixteen years, 
and to have composed many psalms, some of which are quoted 
by Clement of Alexandria. If Tertullian is to be believed, he 
was qualified for the episcopate, which he must have had some 
chance of obtaining ; and his want of orthodoxy cannot, 
therefore, have been manifest at the time or considered an 
objection to his candidature 5 . Moreover, Irenaeus says that 
Valentinus was the first who converted the so-called Gnostic 

1 See Hort, Bardaisan, in Diet. Christian Biog. 

2 Eusebius, Hist, jEccl. Bk iv. c. 30, says that Bar Daisan was first a 
yaleniMtan and afterwards recanted, " but did not entirely wipe away 
the filth of his old heresy." 

8 Bather a suspeot name for a hymn writer. 

1 Ephrem Syrus' own date is giyen as 370 A.B., .in Did. Christian Biog t 

* See a. 3, p. 117 mvpnt. 

ix] Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 121 

heresy into the peculiar characteristics of his own school 1 ; 
which agrees with Tertullian's statement that Valentinus was 
** at first a believer in the teaching of the Catholic Church in 
the Church of Eome under the episcopate of the Blessed 
EleutherusV It is evident, therefore, that long after his 
peculiar teaching was developed, he remained a member of the 
Church, and that it was not by his own wish that he left it, if 
indeed he ever did so. 

One is therefore led to examine with some closeness the 
alleged differences between his teaching and that of the orthodox 
Christianity of his time ; and these, although they may have 
been vitally important, seem to have been very few. With 
regard to his views as to the nature of the Godhead, as given 
above, they do indeed seem to differ toto coelo from those 
shadowed forth in the Canonical Gospels and Epistles, and 
afterwards defined and emphasized by the many (Ecumenical 
and other Councils called to regulate the Church's teaching on 
the matter. The long series of aeons constituting his Pleroma or 
Fulness of the Godhead seems at first sight to present the most 
marked contrast with the Trinity of Three Persons and One 
God in the Creeds which have come down to us from the early 
Church. But is there any reason to suppose that Valentinus 
regarded the members of these Tetrads, Decads, and Dodecads 
as possessing a separate and individual existence or as having 
any practical importance for the Christian ? We can hardly 
suppose so, when we consider the attitude of his immediate 
followers with regard to them. Some, as we have seen, were 
said to have put as the origin of all things* not a single principle 
but two principles of different sexes or, as Irenaeus says, a 
" dyad," thereby splitting the Supreme Being into two 3 . We can 

1 Irenaeus, Bk I. c. 5, 1, p. 98, Harvey. 

2 See n. 2, p. 118 supra. 

3 This may have been due either to their Egyptian extraction, or to 
the necessity of putting the matter in a way that would be intelligible to 
their Egyptian disciples. CL INaviHe, Old Egyptian Faith, 1909, where 
he says that the Egyptian way of expressing abstract ideas is by metaphors. 
Their ancestors, the Egyptians of the early Dynasties, when they wanted 
to describe how gods of both sexes came forth from one single male deity, 
did so by means of a very coarse image. See Budge, Papyrus of 

122 Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [OH. 

imagine the outcry that this would have caused two centuries 
later when the different parties within the Christian Church 
were at each other's throats on the question whether the Son 
was of the same or only of like substance with the Father. 
Yet neither Valentinus, nor Ptolemy, nor Heracleon, nor any 
one of the Valentinian leaders seems to have borne the others 
any hostility on that account, to have dreamed of separating 
from them on such a pretext, or to have ceased to regard them- 
selves both as Christians and followers of Valentinus. The 
only inference to be drawn from this is either that the account 
of their teaching has been grossly corrupted or that they con- 
sidered such questions as matters of opinion merely, on which 
all might freely debate, but which were not to be taken as 
touchstones of the faith. 

This view derives great support from the way in which 
Clement of Alexandria, Valentinus' countryman and the one 
among the Fathers who seems best fitted to understand him, 
regarded similar questions. M. Courdaveaux has shown with 
great clearness that Clement sometimes confounded the Third 
Person of the Trinity with the Second, and sometimes made 
Him His inferior. He also considered the Son as a simple 
creature of the Father, and, therefore, necessarily, of lower 
rank 1 . It was for such " heresies," as they were afterwards 
called, that Photius, who had Clement's now lost book of the 
Hypotyposes under his eyes, condemned Mm as a heretic, 
although his judgment in the matter has never been adopted 
by the Church. M. Courdaveaux also shows that Tertullian, 
even before he left the Church, looked upon both the Son and 
the Holy Spirit as only " members " of the Father, whom he 
considered to contain within Himself the complete divine sub- 

Arasu, Archaeologia, vol. LII. (1890), pp. 440, 441. Of. same author, Hieratic 
Papyri in B.M. 

1 Courdaveaux, R.H.R. Jan.~Fev. 1892, p. 293 and n. 7, MgrDuchesne, 
op. di. pp,244, 245, agrees that Clement looked upon the Son as a creature 
only. Nor does there seem much difference between Valentinus' view of the 
relation between the Demiurge and the Unknown Father, and Clement's 
remarks about the Son whom he calls timeless and unbegotten and says 
that it is from Hun that we must learn the "remote cause the Father of 
the Universe" : Strom. Bk Vn. o. 1. Cf. Justin Martyr, o. Trypho. 0. 56*. 

ix] Post- Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 123 

stance ; and this was certainly none of the heresies for which 
his memory was arraigned 1 . It by no means follows that 
Valentinus' teaching was the same as that of the Church in all 
its details ; but it seems possible from these examples that he 
did not think it necessary to be more definite than the Church 
herself upon such points, and that he did not look upon them in 
any other light than as matters of opinion. 

It should also be considered whether the language that Valen- 
tinus used regarding the nature and divisions of the Godhead 
is to be construed in the same sense and as implying the meaning 
that it would have done a few centuries later, when these 
points had been long discussed and the reasons for and against 
them marshalled and weighed. So far as can now be seen, 
he, like all Egyptians, never lost sight of allegory in dealing 
with matters transcending sense. Thus, when he speaks of 
the pretended union of Bythos and Sige, he is careful to say that 
there is nothing actually begotten, and that the whole story 
must be considered in a figurative sense : 

" The Father [i.e. Bythos] alone," he says, " was unbegotten, 
not subject to conditions of place, nor time, taking no counsel, nor 
having any other being that can be comprehended by any recognized 
trope : but he was alone, and, as it is said, solitary, and resting in 
solitary repose within himself. And when he became fruitful, it 
seemed to him good at a certain time to engender and bring forth 
the most beautiful and perfect thing which he had within him : 
for he did not love solitude. For he was all love, but love is not 
love unless there is something to be loved 2 ." 

Between this and such Canonical texts as " God is love, and he 

that dwelleth in love dwelleth in God and God in him 3 /' there 

may be a difference of application indeed, but none of language. 

It seems, therefore, that in his theology Valentinus treated 

1 R.H.It. Jan.-Fev. 1891, p. 27. Tertuflian's own heresy was of course 
Montanism. Harnack, Hist, of Dogma, Eng. ed., n. pp. 257, 258, says 
indeed that Hippolytus* own views of the Trinity coincide with those of 
Valentinus and are a relic of polytheism. 

2 Hippolytus, op. ciL Bk vi. c. 29, pp. 280, 281, Cruice. 

3 2 John iv. 16. So 'Ayan-q " Love " is made the summit of the 
universe in the Ophite Diagram. See Chap. VIII supra* 

124 Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [OH. 

the Ophitic ideas on which he worked very much as the Ophites 
had themselves treated the legends of Osiris and Attis. Dealing 
with their stories of aeons and powers as myths that is to say 
as legends which whether true or not were only to be considered 
as symbols designed to show the way in which the world and man 
came forth from God-^-he thereby established his cosmology on 
a foundation which could be considered satisfactory by those 
half-heathen schools which had already contrived to reconcile 
the Pagan rites with the Jewish Scriptures and the Christian 
belief in the Mission of Jesus. But he went far beyond them 
in applying the same method of interpretation to all the acts 
of Jesus recorded in the Gospels. If Jesus were crucified upon 
the Cross, it was because its type the aeon Stauros had been set 
as a limit between that which is God and that which is not 
God but only godlike 1 * If He is said to go up to Jerusalem, 
it means that He went up from the world of matter to the 
Heaven of Sophia which is called Jerusalem 2 . If He were sent 
down to earth, it was because the higher worlds had already 
been put in the way of redemption by the gathering-in of 
Sophia into the Pleroma, the marriage of Sophia Without to 
Jesus the Joint Fruit, and the revelation to the Demiurge or 
God of the Jews that he was not the Supreme Being but only 
his reflection at several removes 3 . Every world is a copy of 
the one above it, every event must take place in every world 
in its turn, and all creation is like a chain which hung from 
the heavens is gradually drawn up to them, this creation of ours 
(KTLCTIS Kad' rjfia?) being its last link 4 . 

In all this, Valentinus wrote like a philosopher of the period, 
and, in fact, pretty much as Philo had done. But beyond this, 
he seems to have paid great attention to what is called the 
" pastoral " duty of a religious teacher or the care of souls, and 
to have busied himself to show how religion could be used to 
console and sustain the heart. All the fragments that we have 
left of the writings of himself and his followers are directed 

1 Neander, Ch. Hist. vol. n. p. 90. 

a Heracleon, quoted by Origen in Commentaries on St John, Bk x. c. 19. 

3 Hippotyttis, op. c& Bk vi. c. 6, pp. 297, 298, Cndce. 

4 Ibid. loc. tit, p. 298, Cruice. 

ix] Post-Christian G-nostics : Valentinus 125 

towards this end ; and would, from this point of view, do credit 
to any doctor of the Church. This is especially the case with 
the passage formerly quoted likening the human heart to an 
inn, of which Clement of Alexandria gives the actual words as 
follows : 

ct There is one good by whose coming is the manifestation, which 
is by the Son, and by Him alone can the heart become pure, by 
the expulsion of every evil spirit from the heart. For the multitude 
of spirits dwelling in it do not suffer it to be pure ; but each of 
them performs Ms own deeds, insulting it often with unseemly 
lusts. And the heart seems to be treated somewhat like the court- 
yard of an inn. For the latter has holes and ruts in it, and is often 
filled with dung ; men living filthily in it, and taking no care for 
the place because it belongs to others. So fares it with the heart 
as long as no thought is taken for it, and it is unclean and many 
demons dwell therein. But when the one good Father visits it, 
it is sanctified and gleams with light. And he who possesses such 
a heart is so blessed, that he shall see God 1 ." 

It is no wonder that ML Amelineau speaks in terms of admira- 
tion of the eloquence with which Valentinus applies himself to 
the problem of the existence of evil, and that Neander should 
say that he in great measure realized the idea of Christianity 2 . 
It seems indeed plain that Valentinus never intended to 
break with the Catholic Church and that it is not likely that 
he would have attempted during his life to found any organiza- 
tion that would have been in any way hostile to her 3 . Hence 
it is in vain to search for any special rites belonging to the sect ; 
and it is most probable that he and his immediate followers 
continued to worship with the orthodox, and to resort to the 
prieats* of the Church at large for the administration of the 
Church's sacraments. Did they however demand any formal 

1 Clem. Alex. Sfrvm. Bk n. c. 20. 

2 Amelineau, @nost %. p, 230; Neander, Oh. Hist. TO! n. p. 94. 

3 Neander, op. et loc. tit. p. 150 and note, says Clement of Alexandria 
declares that while Marciom wished to found a Church, the other Gnostics 
endeavoured to found schools, (biarpfiai) only. Clem. Alex. Strom. 
Bk vn. c. 15, seems to be the passage referred to ; but in the present state 
of the text it may be doubted whether it will bear the construction Neander 
puts upon it. 

126 Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [OH. 

initiation into their own doctrines or, in other words, attempt 
to keep them in any sense secret 1 One can only say that there 
is no proof that they did so. Clement of Alexandria and Origen 
both quote freely from the books written by Valentinus and his 
follower Heracleon in which their doctrines are openly set forth, 
and do not hint at any special difficulty they may have had in 
obtaining them. Irenaeus, Tertullian, and Hippolytus do the 
same thingwith regard to the writings of Valentinus and Ptolemy, 
and Irenaeus tells us that he has obtained his knowledge of their 
doctrines not only by reading their commentaries (on Scripture) 
but by personal conversation with their disciples 1 . It does not, 
therefore, look as if before the legal procedure of the State or 
the more summary methods of the Christian mob could be used 
by the Catholics for the suppression of opinion and discussion, 
the Valentinians ever tried to do what Basilides had recom- 
mended to his followers, and to found what was really a secret 
society either within or without the bosom of the Church 2 . 

It does not follow from this, however, that the Valentinians 
differed only in trifling points from the orthodox, or that the 
Fathers were wrong when they accused them of working grave 
injury to the nascent Church. The compliances with heathenism 
which they allowed those who thought with them, such as 
attendance at the circus and the theatres, partaking of heathen 
sacrifices, and flight or even the denial of their faith in time of 
persecution 3 , although justified by them with texts, such as : 
" That which is of the flesh is flesh ; and that which is of the 
Spirit is Spirit," must have aroused the most bitter hostility 
from those wise governors of the Church who saw clearly 
whither the struggle between the Church and the Roman Empire 
was tending. The reward most constantly before the eyes of 
those about to obtain what was called "the crown " of martyrdom 
was that by thus giving their lives for the faith they would 
immediately after death become united with the Deity, instead 

1 Irenaeus, Bk I. Prooem. p. 4, Harvey. 

2 GL Renan, U$glise CJvr&ienne, p. 165. The manner in which the 
Valentinians tried to make converts to their doctrines within the Church 
is described hy Iremetis, Bfc nr. c. 15, 2, pp. 78, 80, Harvey, and Tertullian, 
adv. VatentiTiiiano, o. I. 

3 Renan, ISfigUse Cfa&teime, pp. 152, 153, for references. 

ix] Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 127 

of waiting like other Christians for the Last Judgment 1 . Hence, 
intending martyrs were regarded even while yet alive with 
extraordinary reverence by the rest of the faithful, who, as we 
know from heathen as well as Christian writers, were in the habit 
of flocking into the prisons after them, weeping over them and 
kissing their fetters, and deeming it a privilege to minister in 
every way to the necessities of those who might by a sort of 
anticipation be regarded as already Divine 2 . It was on this 
veritable army of martyrs and on the enthusiasm which their 
triumphs excited that the Church mainly relied for victory in 
her warfare with the State. But how was this army to be 
recruited if the ideas of Valentinus once gained the upper hand 
in the Christian community, and it came to be thought that the 
same reward could be gained by acquaintance with the relative 
positions of the heavens and their rulers, and an accurate 
knowledge of the constitution of the universe ? It was in time 
of persecution that the Valentinians oftenest found adherents 
" then the Gnostics break out, then the Valentinians creep 
forth, then all the opponents of martyrdom bubble up," as 
Tertullian describes it 3 ; and it is easy to understand that those 
who had most to lose in position or ease of life would grasp 
eagerly at any intermediate course which would enable them 
to keep their faith in the religion recently revealed to them 
without going through the terrible trials to which their orthodox 
teachers sought to subject them. Hence, the Valentinians 
probably in some sort justified Gibbon's remark that " tie 
Gnostics were distinguished as the most polite, the most learned, 
and the most wealthy of the Christian name 4 " ; and this alone 
would probably account for the undying hostility which the 
Church always exhibited towards them. 

It was also the case that the spread of the tenets of Valen- 
tinus and his followers was attended with some peculiar social 
dangers of its own. Their division of mankind into the three 

1 TertuUian, de Pudidtia, and Psendo Cyprian, de Gflor. Martyr, passim. 

2 See Chap. VIE, n. 1, p. 8 supra. 

3 Tertullian, Scorpiace, c. 1. 

4 Gibbon, Decline and, Fall, BUTT'S ed. voL n. p. 13. Cf. what Irenaeus, 
Bk I. c. 1, 8, p. 36, Harvey, says as to the high price charged by the 
Valentinians for their teaching. 

128 Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [OEL 

natural classes of spiritual, psychical, and hylic, if carried to 
its logical conclusion, brought with it some strange results. As 
the spiritual or pneumatics were saved in any event, and were, 
already even in this life, as was expressly said, a kind of " gods," 
it was manifestly not for them to trouble themselves about 
obedience to the moral law. The same conclusion applied to the 
hylics who were doomed to annihilation in any case, and whose 
struggles towards righteousness were bound to be inefficacious. 
There remained the psychics or animal men, for whom indeed 
a certain course of life was prescribed before they could attain 
salvation. But with the excessive freedom of interpretation and 
the licence of variation that Valentinus apparently allowed his 
followers, the exact limits of this course must always have been 
a matter of doubt ; and it was here that many corruptions and 
debasements of his teaching began to show themselves. For it 
was an age when religious impostors of all kinds found an easy 
market in the credulity of their fellows, and charlatans every- 
where abounded who were ready to support their claims to ex- 
clusive knowledge of holy things by false miracles and juggling 
tricks. Hippolytus gives us a long list of such devices in- 
cluding the means of answering questions in sealed letters, 
producing an apparition, and the like, which he declares the 
heresiarchs learnt from the magicians and used as proof of their 
own doctrines 1 . One knows at any rate from Lucian's evidence 
that religious pretenders like Alexander of Abonoteichos were 
not negligent of such practices, and charlatans of his kind were 
perhaps especially likely to be attracted to the timid and wealthy 
followers of Valentinus, A Valentiman impostor of this sort, 
if the Fathers are to be believed, was the Jewish magician 
Marcus, who taught a system corresponding in most points 
witt that given above, but made use of it in his own interest 
as a means of moneymaMng and for the corruption of women, 
sjpeaks of the doctrine of this Marcus as being an 
s^aa& to the Christians of Gaul, into which country 
or some follower of his perhaps travelled while Iren&eus 
was Bisltap of Lyons\ By a mode of interpretation which, was 

^ ciL Bk iv. c. 4, | 1-15. 

ce 7-8 passwn, ^ 114-156, Harvey. 

ix] Post- Christian Gnostics: ValentitiUB 129 

indeed a caricature of Valentinus' own, Marcus found proof of the 
existence and order of his aeons in the values of the letters com- 
posing Divine names and in words like Jesus and Christos 1 . He 
seems, too, to have himself administered baptism accompanied 
by exorcisms in the Hebrew language, and to have profaned the 
Eucharist with juggling tricks which made the cup to overflow 
and turned the water it contained into wine having the semblance 
of blood 2 . Thus, says Irenaeus, he contrived to draw away a 
great number from the Church and to seduce many of the 
faithful women. Valentinus, perhaps, is somewhat unfairly 
held responsible by the Fathers for such a perversion of his own 
teaching which he would, perhaps, have condemned as loudly 
as they. Scandals of the kind here hinted at were not unknown 
in the Catholic Church itself, and Christian ministers have been 
found in all ages, sects, and countries who have been willing to 
abuse for their own purposes the power which religion gives 
them over the opposite sex. It is true, too, that people, as 
has been well said, are seldom either as good or as bad as their 
creed, and the doctrine that " God sees no sin in His elect 35 
has been preached in our own time without being followed by 
the " wretchlessness of most unclean living " which the 17th 
article of the Church of England declares to be one of the 
probable consequences of predestinarian teaching. The later 
Valentinians certainly did not forbid marriage, as is shown by 
the pathetic epitaph from a grave in the Via Nazionale quoted 
by Renan 3 , and thus avoided some of the moral dangers with 
which the practice of celibacy is sometimes reproached* 

Of the fortunes of the Valentinian sect after the death of 

1 Thus lie says that the Dove signifies Alpha and Omega, the first and the 
last, because A aoid &, like Treptcn-epa "dove/* have tlie aTunericai value of 801. 

2 A similar miracle is performed by the risen Jesus in the Bruoe Papyrus. 
See Chap, X infra* 

3 a. 

vcarpiKQ-v Trotfeotwra, crtW^jtc, o-tWuf, CTO^TJ [JLOV, 

(S&v\TJs TTJs fjyv)uj$ ff^-yav ayyfXav, vi&v 

L. II. 

130 Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [OH. 

Yalentinus, we have very little precise information. Tertullian 
speaks of it as being in his time the most numerous society of 
heretics (frequentissimum plane collegium haereticoruni), and in 
the West it extended from Rome, as we have seen, into- Gaul 
and even into Spain, where it existed at the end of the 4th 
century 1 . Probably, however, it here propagated itself sporadi- 
cally, its opinions appearing now and then among isolated 
writers and teachers, who probably drew their disciples carefully 
from among the Christian community, and only disclosed their 
system to those who showed some aptitude for it. Of such was 
doubtless " my fair sister Flora " 


KorOavc Kai fcoei KCU opa <pdo$ a<#m>v oi/roos* 

Savcv &e Bavovanv akr]6&s. 
is vemvos yevos; 77 7re<j&d/3i?rai ; 

(Boeckh's) C. I. G. 9595a, 1. 1. and p. 594. 
" Longing for the light of the Father, partner of my blood, partner of my 

bed, my wise one ! 

Anointed at the font with the incorruptible and pure myrrh of Christ, 
Thou hast hastened to behold the divine faces of the Aeons, [and] 
The Great Angel of the Great Council, the true Son. 
Thou hast gone to the nuptial couch and hast hurried to the fatherly 

bosoms of the Aeons 
And ...... 

Though dying, she has not suffered the common end of life, 

She is dead, and yet lives and actually beholds the light incorruptible, 

To the living she is alive, and dead only to those really dead, 

Earth, why dost thou wonder at this new kind of shade ? or dost 

thou fear it ? " 

This was engraved on a cippuA of white marble found about three miles 
from Rome in the Via Latina and is now in the Eircher Museum. Kenan's 
translation is given in Marc AurVLe, p. 14=7. That the lady's name was 
Mavia seems evident from the acrostic contained in the first verse. She must 
also have been a pneumatic or spiritual from her husband's confident ex- 
pectation that she would be raised to the Heavenly Jerusalem and by his 
assertion of her deathlessness. Hence it may be inferred that Valentinus' 
dkciples even when of the highest spiritual rank were allowed to marry. Cf . 
Clem. Alex, $kom. Bk in. c. 17. The name " Angel of the Great Council " 
is applied to GhrMby Justin Martyr (c. Tryph. c. 126) who says that He 
is so called by EzekieL The passage does not appear in the Canons. 
1 Matter, Hist, dm Gnosiicisme, ^ p, p. 126, quoting St Jerome. 

ix] Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 131 

to whom Valentinus 5 successor Ptolemy wrote a letter setting 
out his tenets which Epiphanius has preserved for us 1 . As the 
quotations in it presuppose an acquaintance on her part with 
Old Testament history as well as with the Canonical Gospels 
and the Pauline Epistles, there can be little doubt that she was 
already a Christian convert. This mode of propaganda was 
the more obnoxious to the episcopate that it was likely to 
escape for some time the observation of the overseers of the 
Church, and is quite sufficient to explain the pains which bishops 
like Irenaeus and Hippolytus took to expose and refute the 
doctrines of the Valentinians, as well as what they say with 
doubtful accuracy about the secrecy which was observed con- 
cerning them 2 . In the East, things were probably different, 
and Heracleon's Commentaries on the Gospels, from which 
Origen quotes freely, would on the face of it have been useless 
unless addressed to the Christian community at large, and 
make no attempt to conceal their heretical teaching. In Egypt, 
however, the Gnostic teachers found a soil ready prepared for 
them. Egyptian Christianity, whether founded, according to 
tradition, by St Mark or not, never seems to have gone through 
the intermediate stage of observing the prescriptions of the 
Jewish Law while preaching its abrogation, and, in Alexandria 
especially, so far appealed to those learned in the Hellenistic 
and other philosophies as to necessitate the founding of a 
Christian school there for their study. The native Egyptians, 
too, had for millennia been given to mystic speculation about 
the nature of God and the destiny of the soul after death ; 
and Valentinus, who must be presumed to have understood his 
own people, doubtless knew how to suit his teaching to their 
comprehension, even if he did not incorporate therein, as 
M. Amelineau has endeavoured to show, some of the more 
abstruse doctrines on these points of the old Egyptian religion 3 . 
Moreover, from the time of Hadrian onwards, the Egyptians 
were animated by a bitter and restless hatred against their 

1 Epiphanitis, Haer. xxxm. c. 3> pp. 401-413, Oehler. Cf. " the Elect 
Lady " to whom 2 John is addressed. 

2 It should he remembered that Valentinus had heen dead some 5O 
years when Irenaeus and Hippolytus wrote. 

3 Am^lineau, Gnost. fig. Chap. V, pp. 281-320 passim. 


132 Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus [OH. 

Roman masters, and this feeling, which was by no means with- 
out justification, disposed them to embrace eagerly any ideas 
condemned by the bishops and clergy of Borne and of Constanti- 
nople. Hence the Valentinians had in Egypt their greatest 
chance of success, and the existence of documents like those 
described in the next chapter shows that Egyptian Christianity 
must have been largely permeated by their ideas perhaps up 
to Mohammedan times. Further East, the same causes pro- 
duced similar effects, though in this case they were probably 
modified by the necessity of combating the remains of heathen 
religions which there lingered. The growing political power 
of the Catholic Church even before the conversion of Constantine 
probably drove the Valentinians to form separate communities 
wherever they were in sufficient numbers to do so, and thus is 
explained the possession by them of the " houses of prayer " 
of which the Constantinian Decree above quoted professes to 
deprive them. On the confines of the Empire and in provinces 
so far distant from the capital as Mesopotamia, these heretical 
communities probably lingered longer than in other places, and 
may have enjoyed, as in the case of Bardesanes, the protection 
and countenance of the native kinglets. Even here, however, 
the employment of the secular arm which its alliance with the 
State gave to the Church seems to have eventually forced them 
into an attitude of hostility towards it, as is shown by the 
" rabbling " of one of their conventicles in the way before 
mentioned. The accession of Julian brought them a temporary 
respite 1 ; but on his death in the Persian campaign, the retreat 
of the Koman eagles probably gave them their quietus. Only 
in Egypt, it would seem, did their doctrines succeed in gaining 
anything like a permanent resting-place. Elsewhere, the rise 
of new heresies and especially of Manichaeism drove them out 
of their last strongholds. 

Valentmianism, therefore, approved itself a stop-gap or 
temporary faith, which for two hundred years 2 acted as a half- 

1 Jolian, Ep. 43, tells Eecebolius that the Arians of Edessa, "puffed up 
by their riches," have maltreated the Valentinians, and that he has there- 
fore ordered the confiscation of the estates and treasure of the Church of 
Edessa. It is doubtful whether the edict can have been enforced before 
the emperor's death abrogated it. 

2 We get at a sort of minimum date for its persistence from the career 

ix] Post-Christian Gnostics: Valentinus 133 

way house between heathenism and Christianity. In this 
capacity, it was singularly efficient, and was one of the forces 
which enabled, as Renan said, the ancient world to change 
from Paganism to Christianity without knowing it. In parti- 
cular, it seems to have attracted to itself the attention of the 
learned and leisured class who were endeavouring, earnestly if 
somewhat timidly, to work out a rule of faith and conduct from 
the welter of creeds and philosophies with which the Empire 
was swamped during the first Christian centuries. Such a class 
is not that out of which martyrs are made, and is sure sooner 
or later to acquiesce in the opinions of the majority ; but we 
may be certain that the learned and polite Valentinians would 
have listened with natural disgust to the simple and enthusi- 
astic declamations of Jewish fishermen and artizans which had 
for their chief theme the coming destruction and overthrow of 
the social system in which they had grown up. The brilliant, 
if baseless, speculations of Valentinus, which even now have 
a certain attraction for the lovers of mysticism 1 , gave them 
exactly the kind of spiritual pabulum they craved for, and 
enabled them to wait in hope and patience until Christianity, 
forcing its way upward, as religions generally do, from the lowest 
class of society, had become the faith of the governing ranks. 
In this way, Valentinianism was probably one of the best 
recruiting grounds for the Catholic Church, and Renan is 
doubtless right when he says that no one who passed from 
Paganism through the Gnosticism of Valentinus and his fellows 
ever reverted to his former faith. Yet Yalentinianism itself was 
doomed to but a short life, and in its original form probably did 
not survive its founder by much more than a century and a half. 
One of its later developments we shall see in the next chapter. 

of St Ambrose, wlio had been a VaJentrnian in his youth (see Euseblus, 
Hist. Ecd. Bk vr. c. 18), and was made bishop of Milan in 374 A.D,, he being 
then 34 years old. The sect therefore had adherents in Italy about 360 A.D. 
1 It may be news to some that an attempt has lately been made to 
revive in Paris the heresy of Valentinus. See the Contemporary Review 
for May, 1897, or Jules Bois' Les Petite Religions de Paris, where a full 
account of the services and hymns of " L'jSglise Gnostique " is given. Its 
founder, Jules Doinel, was reconverted to Catholicism some time before 
his death. Its present head is M. Fabre des Essarts. 



IN 1765, the British. Museum purchased from the celebrated 
antiquarian, Dr Askew, a parchment MS. written in Coptic 2 . 
On palaeographic grounds it is said to be not earlier than the 
vith century A.I>. ? which agrees fairly with its state of pre- 
servation and the fact that it is written on both sides of the 
skins so as to present the appearance of a modern book 3 . 
Woide, then librarian of the Museum and pastor of the King's 
German Chapel at St James', published some extracts from 
it in his Appendix to the Codex Alexandrinus in 1799, and 
DuLaurier gave others in the Journal Asiatique in 1847 4 . It 
remained, however, untranslated until 1850, when Maurice 
Schwartze, a young German scholar who was sent over here to 
study our MSS. at the expense of the king of Prussia, turned it 
into Latin ; and he having died soon after, his translation was 
published the following year by the learned Petermann. The 
British Museum text is written throughout in the Sahidic 

1 The chapter on Marcion and his doctrines should perhaps in strict 
chronological order follow on here, as Marcion' s teaching was either con- 
temporary with, or at most, but a few years later than, that of Valentinus. 
Cf . Salmon in Diet. Christian Biog. s.v. Marcion, Valentinus. But the earliest 
documents in the Pistis Sophia are, as will be seen, possibly by Valentinus 
himself, and, as all of them are closely connected with big doctrine, it seemed 
a pity to postpone their consideration. 

2 W. E. Crum, Catalogue of the Coptic MS. in the Brit. Mus., 1905, 
p. 173, n. 2, says that it was bought at the sale of Askew's effects for 
10. 10s. OeZ., and that Askew himself bought it from a bookseller. 

9 H. Hyvemat, Album de Paleographie Copte, Paris, 1888. 
* Matter, Hi*L du Gnosf. t. n. pp. 39-43, 347-348, and t. m. pp. 368- 

CH. x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 135 

dialect, and is the work of more than one scribe ; but it seems 
to be agreed by those who have studied it with knowledge 
that the documents it contains are neither continuous nor 
necessarily related ; and that it is in fact a series of extracts 
from earlier MSS. 1 Of these documents, the second commences 
with a heading, in a handwriting other than that of the scribe 
of this part, reading " the Second Book of Pistis Sophia " ; 
but as such a heading implies that the foregoing document 
was the First Book of Pistis Sophia, the whole MS. is generally 
known by that name 2 . 

The story presented in these two documents, although 
uncompleted, is, so far as it goes, perfectly consistent, and 
presupposes belief in a Gnostic system resembling at once 
those of the Ophites and of Valentinus. An introduction in 
narrative form informs us that Jesus, after rising from the 
dead, spent eleven years in teaching His disciples the arrange- 
ment of the heavenly places " only so far as the places " of 
a power whom He calls " the First Mystery," and declares to 
be " before all mysteries," and to be " within the veil," being 
" the father of the likeness of a dove 3 ." The result of this 

1 See the present writer's article "Some Heretic Gospels" in the 
Scottish Review for July, 1893, where the MSS. treated of in this chapter 
and their divisions are described in detail. Schmidt, Koptisch-gnostische 
jSchriften, Bd i. p. 14, speaks of this "Codex Askewianus" as "eine 
Miszellenhandschrif t. ' " 

2 Except where otherwise specified, subsequent references here to 
Pistis Sophia (in Italics) are to the first 253 pages of the Coptic MS. only. 

3 Cf. the " ecrarepov rov KaraireTacr paras "within the veil" of Heb. 
vi 19. For other instances of its use in this sense see Gram, Cat. of 
the Coptic MSS. in the Brit. Mus. p. 255, n. 1 ; and dem. Alex. Strom. 
Bk v. c. 6. For the dove, Mr F, C. Conybe&re, in a paper on the subject 
read before the Society of Historical Theology in Dec. 1892 (see Academy 
of 3rd Dec. 1892), said that the dove was " th recognised symbol of the 
Holy Spirit or Logos in the allegorizing theology of the Alexandrine Jews 
at the beginning of the 1st century AJX," and quoted several passages 
from Philo in support. Cf. Origen, cont. Oel&. Bk I. c. 31. But it was also 
the emblem, perhaps the totem-animal, of the great Asiatic goddess who, 
under the name of Astarte or Aphrodite, was worshipped as the M at&r 
viventium or " Mother of aH Living," with whose worship the serpent was 
also connected. It was doubtless to this that the text " Be ye wise as 
serpents, harmless as doves " refers. Both serpents and doves figure largely 

136 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

limitation was, we are told, that the disciples were ignorant 
not only that any power existed higher than the First Mystery, 
but also of the origin of the " places " or worlds of those 
material and quasi-m&teridi powers who, here as in the earlier 
systems, are responsible for the governance of the world and 
the fate of mankind. While the disciples are sitting with 
Jesus on the Mount of Olives, however, He is carried away 
from them into Heaven by a great " power " or shape of light 
which descends upon Him. On His return, He tells them that 
this shape was " a vesture of light " or His heavenly nature 
which He had laid aside before being born into this world 1 . He 
also informs them that, when He first came into this world 
before His Incarnation, He brought with Him twelve powers 
which He took from " the Twelve Saviours of the Treasure 
house of Light 2 ," and planted them in the mothers of the 

in the Mycenaean and Cretan worship of the goddess. See Ronald Burrows, 
Discoveries in Crete, 1907, pp. 137, 138, and Index for references. In later 
Greek symbolism the dove was sacred to the infernal Aphrodite or Perse- 
phone whose name of ^eppe^mrra or ^epo-^^arra has been rendered 
<c she who bears the dove." See de Chanot, "Statues Iconiques de Chypre" 
in Gazette Arch&loqique, 1878, p. 109. 

1 Pistis Sophia, p. 152, Copt. This metaphor is first met with in Philo, 
Quaest. in Genesim, Bk I. c. 53, who declares that the " coats of akin " of 
Gen. iii. 21 are the natural bodies with which the souls of the protoplasts 
were clothed. It was a favourite figure of speech with the Alexandrian 
Jewish writers. So in the Ascensio Isaiae, c. iv. 16, 17 : " But the saints 
will come with the Lord with their garments which are now stored up on 
high in the seventh heaven : with the Lord will they come, whose spirits 

are clothed And afterwards they will turn themselves upward in 

their garments, and their body will be left in this world." Cf. Charles, 
Ascension of Isaiah, pp. 34, 35, and Eschatology (Jowett Lectures), pp. 
399 sqg., where he says that this was also the teaching of St Paul. 

2 The word Sa-njp, which here as elsewhere in the book appears without 
any Coptic equivalent, evidently had a peculiar signification to the Valen- 
tinian Gnostics, Irenaeus,Bk r. c. 1, 1, p. 12, Harvey, says that it was the 
name they gave to Jesus ou&e yap Kvptov ovopafav alrov dc\av<rt " for they 
do not choose to call Him Lord." In the later part of the book, the do- 
cument caled Mepos TV X & V Samjpos (p. 253, Copt,) says that "he is 
saviour and a^p^os- (i.e. not to be confined in space), who finds the words 
of the mysteries and the words of the Third Receptacle which is within 

xj . The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 137 

twelve Apostles, so that when these last were bora into the 
world they were given these powers instead of receiving, like 
other men, souls "from the archons (or rulers) of the aeons 1 ." 
He also describes how He appeared among the archons of 
the Sphere in the likeness of the angel Gabriel, and found 
among them the soul of "Elijah the Prophet 2 ." This He 
caused to be taken to " the Virgin of Light," that it might 
be .planted in Elizabeth, the mother of John the Baptist 3 , 
(i.e. the inmost of the three) and exoelleth them all." From which it would 
appear that the chief qualification of a saviour in the eyes of the later 
Valentinians was that he was not restricted to his special place in the uni- 
verse, but could visit at will the worlds below him. We seem therefore to 
be already getting near the Manichaean idea of Burlchans (messengers or 
Buddhas) who are sent into the world for its salvation. CL Chapter XIII 

1 So that Judas Iscariot received a super-excellent soul as well as the 
other eleven, unless we are to suppose that his successor and substitute 
Matthias was one of those chosen from the beginning. It is curious that 
neither in this nor in any other Valentinian document is there any allusion 
to the treason of Judas. The phrase " Archons of the aeons " means, as 
will be seen later, the rulers of the twelve signs of the Zodiac. 

2 The " Sphere," here as elsewhere in the book, means the sphere of the 
visible firmament, which is below that of Heimarmene or Destiny. 

3 This TrapGtvos rov (jxarof or Virgin of Light appears here, I think, 
for the first time in any Gnostic document, although she may have 
been known to the Valentinians. See Irenaeus, Bk n. c. 47, 2, p. 368, 
Harvey. She is, perhaps, a lower analogue of Sophia Without, and is 
represented as seated in or near the material sun which is said to give its 
light in its " true form " only in her TQTTOS or place, which is 10,000 times 
more luminous than that of the Great Propator or Forefather mentioned 
later (Pistis Sophia, p. 194, Copt. ). Her function seems to be the " judging " 
of the souls of the dead, which does not apparently involve any weighing 
of evidence, but merely the examination of them to see what " mysteries " 
they have received in previous incarnations, which will determine the 
bodies in which they are reincarnated or their translation to higher spheres 
{ibid. pp. 239, 292). She also places in the soul a power which returns to 
her, according to the Mtpvs Tfv%S>v Sojrijpos, on the death of its possessor 
(ibid, p. 284, Copt.), thereby discharging the functions assigned in the 
last book of Plato's Republic to Lachesis. She is also on the same authority 
(Le. the M. r. S.) one of the rulers of the disk of the sun and of that of the 
moon (ibid. pp. 340-341, Copt.), and her place is one of the * e places of the 
Middle " and is opposite to the kingdom of Adamas, which is called the 
** head of the aeons " (ibid. p. 236, Copt.). She reappears in Manichaeism 

138 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [CH. 

and He adds that He bound to it a power which He took from 
" the Little lao the Good, who is in the middle." The object 
of this was, we are told, that John the Baptist might prepare 
the way of Jesus and baptize with water for the remission 
of sins. 

Jesus then proceeds to describe His own Incarnation. 
When speaking, still in the shape of the angel Gabriel, with 
Mary His " mother after the body of matter," He planted in 
her the first power he had received from " Barbelo," which. 
was the body He had worn " in the height 1 " ; and, in the 

and it is said in the ActaArcTielai that at the destruction of the world she will 
pass into " the ship " of the moon along with Jesus and other powers where 
she will remain until the whole earth is burnt up (c. xm. p. 2 1 of Hegemonius, 
Ada Archelai, Beeson's ed. Leipzig, 1906, p. 21). In the Turfan texts 
(F. W. K. Muller, Handschriften-Reste in Estmngelc Schrift aus Turfan* 
roc. TeU, Berlin, 1904, p. 77) appears a fragment of a prayer in which is 
invoked y$6 Icwr&grffiand which Br Muller translates 'IqcroiJ? TrapQsvos 
TOV <o>r<fc, "Jesus, Virgin of Light" ; but it is possible that there is 
some mistake in the reading. 

1 Barbelo is a name very frequently met with in the earlier heresio- 
logists. frenaeus, Bk r, c. 26, 1, 2, pp. 221-226, Harvey, declares that there 
was a sect of Simortians called Barbeliotae < or Naassenes " who suppose 
" a certain indestructible (the Latin version says " never- ageing ") Aeon 
in a living virgin spirit whom they call Barbelo (masc.)," and gives an 
account of a string of other aeons issuing not from, but at the prayer of, 
this Barbelo, which is far from clear in the present state of the text. The 
sect appears, from what can be made out of his description, to have resem- 
bled the Ophites, of which it may have been a branch. Hippolytus, however, 
says nothing of them, and the account of Epiphanius (Haer. xxv. and xxvi. , 
Vol. a, pt I, pp. 160, 184, Oehler, is untrustworthy, inasmuch as he assigns 
the worship of Barbelo to two sects, one of which he calls Nicolaitans and 
the other Gnostics simply. To both of them he attributes after his manner 
unimaginably filthy rites, and it is plain from his making Barbelo the mother 
of Jaldabaoth and giving her a> seat in the eighth heaven that he confuses 
her -wilfully or otherwise with the Sophia of the Ophites. Her place in the 
system of the Pistis Sophia -will be described in the text. The name is said 
by Harvey to be derived from the Syriac Barba efo,the Deity in Four or God 
in Tetrad, and the derivation is approved by Hort (Diet, oj CJvristian Biog. 
s.h.n,*). It appears more likely, however, that it is to be referred to the 
Hebrew root ^3 " Babel" or confusion, a derivation which Hort also men- 
tions. In Irenaeus' Greek text the name is spelt j3ap]3i?Xo>, in the Latin 
** Barbelo " with an accitsative " Barbelon," and in Epiphanius fiapprjXv 
and papftypa). E w^ might alter this last into /3apj3api^, we might see 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 139 

place of the soul, a power which He received from " the Great 
Sabaoth the Good, who is in the place of the right." After 
this digression, He resumes His account of what happened 
after His receiving the vesture of light on the Mount of Olives, 
and declares that He found written in this vesture five mysterious 
words " belonging [viz. in the language of] to the height 1 ," 
which He interprets to His disciples thus : 

" The mystery who is without the world, through whom all things 
exist, lie is the giving forth and the lifting up of all and he has put 
forth all the emanations and the things which are in them all. And 
it is through him that all the mysteries exist and all their places. 
Come unto us, for we are thy fellows and thy members 2 ! We 
are one with thee, fox thou and we are one. This is the First 
Mystery which existed since the beginning in the Ineffable One 

it in a great number of magic spells of the period. Cf . Wessely, Ephesia 
Grammata, Wien, 1886, pp. 26, 28, 33, 34. 

1 Pistis Sophia, p. 16, Copt. The five words are zama, zama, &zza, 
rachama, 6zai. Whatever they may mean, we may be quite sure that they 
can never contain with their few letters the three pages or so of text which 
are given as their interpretation. It is possible that the letters are used 
acrostically like the A G L A, i.e. VHK riPIjA "iM (? Ahih ? rPHK) nntf Ate 
Gibor Lailam Adonai, " The mighty Adonai for ever" (or "thou art the 
mighty and eternal Lord ") commonly met with in mediaeval magic. Cf. 
Peter de Abano, Heptameron, seu Elementa Magica, Paris, 1567, p. 563 ; or, 
for other examples, F. Barrett, The Magus, 1801, Bk n. pp. 39, 40. The 
notable feature in these mysterious words is the quantity of Zetas or f J s that 
they contain which points to the use of some sort of table like that called 
by Cabalists ziruph, or a cryptogram of the aaaaa, aaaab, kind. It should 
be noticed that Coptic scribes were often afflicted with what has been 
called Betacism or the avoidance of the letter Beta or ft by every means, 
which frequently led to the substitution for it of as in the case of Jalda- 
baoth = IaXSafao> given above (Chap. VUE, n. 3, p. 46 supra). 

2 This idea of certain powers being the members or " limbs " of him 
from whom they issue recurs all through the Pistis SopMa. Of. especially 
p. 224, Copt., where it is said that tiie x&pnpwa or "receptacles " of the 
Ineffable go forth from his last limb. It is probably to be referred to the 
conception of th6 Supreme Being as the Han /car' t&xfo* which we have 
seen current among the Ophites, See Chap. VHI, n. 2, p. 38 supra. That the 
ancient Egyptians used the same expression concerning their own gods and 
especially Ra, see Moret, " Le Verbe createur et revelateur," E.H.R., Mai- 
Juin, 1909, p. 257. CL Amelineau, Gfnostidsme $gyptien> p. 288, So 
NaviJle, Old Egyptian Faith, p. 227. 

140 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

before he [i.e. the First Mystery] went forth, and we all are his 
name 1 . 

" Now therefore we all await thee at the last boundary which 
is the last mystery from within 2 . This also is part of us. Now 
therefore we have sent to thee thy vesture which is thine from the 
beginning, which thou didst place in the last boundary, which is 
the last boundary from within, until the time should "be fulfilled 
according to the commandment of the First Mystery. And now 
that the time is fulfilled, clothe thyself in it ! Come unto us, for 
we all stand near to thee that we may clothe thee with all the glory 
of the First Mystery by His command. Which glory is as two 
vestures, besides that which we have sent unto thee. For thou 
art worthy of them since thou art preferred before us and wast 
made before us. Wherefore the First Mystery has sent thee by us 
the mystery of all his glory, which is as two vestures. In the first 
is the glory of all the names of all the mysteries and of all the emana- 
tions which are in the ranks of the receptacles of the Ineffable One. 
And in the second vesture is the glory of the names of all the 
mysteries and of all the emanations which are in the ranks of the 

1 That is to say, their names make up his name as letters do a word. 
So in the system of Marcus referred to in Chap. IX supra, Irenaeus (Bk I. 
c. 8, II* p. 146, Harvey) explains that the name of Jesus ('Irja-ovs) 
which might be uttered is composed of six letters, but His unutterable 
name of twenty-four, because the names of the first Tetrad of ^AppTjro? 
(Bythos), 2tyjj, Uarrip (Monogenes or Nous) and 'AX^em contain that 
number of letters. See also 5 of same chapter. Those who wish to 
understand the system are recommended to read the whole of the chapter 
quoted. As Irenaeus has the sense to see, there is no reason why the 
construction from one root of names founded on the principle given should 
not go on for ever. 

2 This is probably either the Horos or Stauros that we have seen brought 
into being in the teaching of Valentinus as a guard to the Pleroma, or, as 
is more probable, an antitype of the same power hi the world immediately 
above ours. That there was more than one Horos according to the later 
Valentirdans appears plain from the words of Irenaeus above quoted 
(see Chap. IX, n. I, p. 105 supra). Probably each world had its Horos, 
or Limit, who acted as guard to it on its completion. That in this world, 
the Cross, personified and made pre-existent, fulfils this office seems evident 
from the Gospel of Peter, where it is described as coming forth from the 
Sepulchre with Jesus (Mem. Miss. Arch&l. du Caire, 1892, t. ix. fasc. I, 
v. 10). Cf. too, Gem. Alex. Paedagogus, Bk nr. c. 12, and Strom. Bk u. 
c. 20, 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 141 

two receptacles of the First Mystery. And in this vesture which, 
we have sent thee now, is the glory of the name of the Eecorder 
who is the First Precept 1 , and the mystery of the Five Marks 2 , and 
the mystery of the great Legate of the Ineffable One who is the 
same as that Great Light 3 , and the mystery of the Five Prohegumeni 
who are the same as the Five Parastatae 4 . And there is also in 
that vesture the glory of the name of the mystery of all the ranks 
of the emanations of the Treasure-house of Light, and of their 
Saviours, and the ranks of those ranks which are the Seven Amen 
and which are the Seven Sounds, and also the Five Trees 5 and also 

1 e O jjLTjvevro?. The word is not known in classical Greek (but of. 
jjLT)vvrr)$ " a revealer "), and appears to have its root in pr\v " the moon," 
as the measure of the month. From the Coptic word here translated 
" Precept," we may guess it to be a personification of the Jewish Law or 
Torah which, according to the Rabbis, before the creation of the world 
existed in the heavens. Later in the book it is said that it is by command 
of this power that Jeu places the aeons (p. 26, Copt.) ; that the souls of those 
who receive the mysteries of the light (i.e. the psychics) will have pre- 
cedence in beatitude over those who belong to the places of the First Precept 
(p. 196, Copt.) ; that all the orders of beings of the Third ^cop^/xa are 
below him (p. 203, Copt.) ; and that he is " cut into seven mysteries," 
which may mean that his name is spelled with seven letters (p. 219, Copt.). 

2 Xapayfjicti. Are these the letters mentioned in last note ? 

3 Tlpfo-fitvTf]?, properly, " ambassador " or " agent." Doubtless a 
prototype of our sun. Elsewhere in the book, Jesus tells His disciples 
that He brought forth from Himself " at the beginning" power (not a 
power), which He cast into the First Precept, " and the First Precept cast 
part of it into the Great Light, and the Great Light cast part of that which 
he received into the Five Parastatae, the last of whom breathed part of that 
which he received into the Kerasmos or Confusion ** (p. 14, Copt.), The 
Great Light is also called the Xdpaypa of the Light, and is said to have 
remained without emanation (p. 219, Copt.). 

4 nopacmirai, " Comrades " or " witnesses " or " helpers." They 
can here hardly be anything else but tfee Five Planeta It is said later 
that it was the last Parastates who set Je& and his five companions in 
the " Place of the Right Hand " (p^ If 3, Copt.). When t&e world is des- 
troyed, Jesus is to take the perfect sotds into this last Parastates where 
they are to reign with h (p. 230, CbpL) for 1000 years of light which are 
365,000 of our years (p. 243* Copt.), npoT/yot^yos- " Forerunner " does 
not seem to occur in classical Greek. 

5 We hear nothing more definite of these Five Trees, but they appear 
again in Mardchaeism, and are mentioned in the Chinese tre&tise from 
Tun-huang, for which see Chap. XIII infra* 

142 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [CH. 

the Three Amen, and also the Saviour of the Twins who is the boy 
of a boy 1 , and the mystery of the Nine Guards of the Three Gates 
of the Treasure-house of Light. And there is also within it the 
glory of the name which is on the right, and of all those who are 
in the middle. And there also is the glory of the name of the Great 
Unseen One, who is the Great Forefather 2 , and the mysteries of the 

1 This is a most puzzling expression and seems to have baffled the scribe, 
as he speaks of them, when he comes to repeat the phrase (p. 216, Copt.), 
as the " Twin Saviours," which is a classical epithet of the Dioscuri. In 
Pharaonic Egypt, Shu and Tefnut the pair of gods who were first brought 
into being by the Creator were sometimes called "The Twins." See 
JSTaville, Old Egyptian Faith, p. 120. Cf. p. 171 infra. 

2 It is evident from the context that we here begin the enumeration 
of the Powers of the Left, who are hylic or material and therefore the least 
worthy of the inhabitants of the heavens. According to Irenaeus, the 
Valentinians held that all of them were doomed to destruction. 

OI>TOOZ>, TO /XK V\LK&V, 6 KOL dpLCTTp6v KoXovCTl, KCLTCL dvdj 

\vcr6ai Xeyovcriv, are fj,r}$[iiav e7rteacr$at irvorjv d<$>8apa'ia$ dwdpcvov 
(Irenaeus, Bk i, c. 1, 11, p. 51, Harvey). " There being three forms of 
existences, they say that the hylic, which they call the left hand, must be 
destroyed, inasmuch as it cannot receive any breath of incorrnption." 
So in the Bruce Papyrus to be presently mentioned, the " part of the left " 
is called the land of Death. At their head stands " the Great Unseen 
Propator," who throughout the Pistis Sophia proper is called by this title 
only, and occupies the same place with regard to the left that lao does in 
respect of the middle, and Jeft of the right. In the Me'po? 
(p. 359, Copt.) he is called by the name 
frequently 'appears in the Magic Papyri. It is there spelt indifferently 
aKpapvLKapapi, aKpappaxapi, aKpa/i/xa^a/wzpet, a/cpa/i/ia^a^a^api, and in a 
Latin inscription on a gold plate, aaramihamari (see Wessely, Epfiesia 
Grammata, p. 22, for references), which last may be taken to be the 
more usual pronunciation. One is rather tempted to see in the name a 
corruption of dypa^arcov in the sense of " which cannot be written," 
but I can find no authority for such a use of the word. As the ruler of the 
material Cosmos he might be taken for the Cosmocrator who, as we have 
seen, is called by Valentinus Diabolos or the Devil (but see n. 1, p. 152 
infra). Yet he cannot be wholly evil like Beelzebuth for it is said in the 
text (p. 41, Copt. ) that he and his consort Barbelo sing praises to the Powers 
of the Light. So in the Uepos revx&v Sambos- (p. 378, Copt.) 
he is represented as begging for purification and holiness when the Great 
Name of God is uttered. It is plain also from the statements in the text 
(pp. 43, 44, Copt.) that in the Pistis Sophia he, Barbelo, and the 
or Arrogant Power make up a triad called: the great Tfudwapets 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 143 

Tliree Triple Powers, and the mystery of all their places, and the 
mystery of all their unseen ones, and of all the dwellers in the 
Thirteenth Aeon, and the name of the Twelve Aeons with all their 
Archons, all their Archangels, all their Angels and all the dwellers 
in the Twelve Aeons, and all the mystery of the name of all the 
dwellers in Heimarmene 1 , and all the heavens, and the whole 
mystery of the name of all the dwellers in the Sphere and their 
firmaments with all they contain and their places. Lo, then, we 
have sent unto thee this vesture, which none knoweth from the 
First Precept downward, because that the glory of its light was 
hidden within it, and the Spheres and all the places from the First 
Precept downward knew it not. Hasten, then, do on the vesture, 
and come unto us, for we have remained near thee to clothe thee 
with these two vestures by the command of the First Mystery 
until the time fixed by the Ineffable One should be Mulled. Now, 
then, the time is fulfilled* Come unto us quickly, that we may 
clothe thee with them until thou hast accomplished the entire 
ministry of the completion of the First Mystery, the ministry 
which has been laid upon thee by the Ineffable One. Come then 
unto us quickly in order that we may clothe thee with them ac- 
cording to the command of the First Mystery. For yet a little 
while, a very little while, and thou wilt cease to be in the world. 
Come then quickly, that thou mayest receive all the glory which 
is the glory of the First Mystery." 

This long address, in which the whole arrangement of the 
universe as the author supposes it to exist is set forth, is 
clearly the utterance of the heavenly powers belonging to the 
higher worlds whom Jesus has left on His descent to earth. 
Unintelligible as it seems at first sight, it can be explained 
to some extent by the tenets of the Ophites described in 
Chapter VIH, which formed, as we have seen, the basis on 
which Valentinus also constructed his system. The Ineffable 

" Triple Powers " from whom are projected the powers called the " Twenty- 
four Invisibles." In another document of the same MS. (p. 361, Copt.) a 
power from him is said to be bound in the planet Saturn. 

1 This Ei/Artp/i>77 or " Destiny " is the sphere immediately above 
our firmament. It is evidently so called, because on passing through it 
the soul on its way to incarnation receives the Moira or impress of its own 
destiny, of which it cannot afterwards rid itself except by the grace of the 
mysteries or Valentinian sacraments, Cf. Chap. IX, n. 3, p. 115 supra. 

144 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

One may be assumed to be the Bythos whom both the Ophites 
and Valentinus called by that epithet 1 and held to be the 
first and final source of all being. Although something 
is said here and elsewhere in the book of his " receptacles " 
and " places 2 ," no particulars of them are given, they being 
apparently reserved for a future revelation 3 . The First 
Mystery, however, is spoken of later as a " Twin Mystery, 
looking inward and outward 4 ," which seems to correspond 
to the Father-and-Son of the Ophite diagram. Later in 
the book, Jesus reveals to His disciples that He Himself is 
the First Mystery "looking outward 5 / 5 and this seems to 
show that the author's conception of the relations between 
Him and the First Person of the Trinity did not differ much 
from that of the Catholic Church 6 . The world of this First 
Mystery extends downwards as far as what is here, as in the 
Epistle to the Hebrews 7 , called " the veil, 55 which is perhaps 
the veil of sense separating all things contaminated by mixture 
with matter from the Divine. This First Mystery is said to 
consist of twenty-four " mysteries 5? ; but these do not seem 
to be, as in the older systems, places or worlds, but rather 
attributes or aspects of the Deity which together go to make 
up His whole being, as a number of letters are required to 
make up a word or name 8 . But from some words of Jesus. 

1 "Appriros. Irenaeus, Bk i. c. 5, 1, p. 99, Harvey. Imnomina'bilis, 
Tertullian, adv. Valentinianos, c. 37. So Clem. Alex. Strom. Bk v. c. 10,. 
says that God is ineffable, being incapable of being expressed even in His 
own power. 

2 Xwp^/ietra : TOTTOL. 

3 That [i.e. the First] mystery knoweth why there emanated all the 
places which are in the receptacle of the Ineffable One and also all which 
is in them, and why they went forth from the last limb of the Ineffable 

One These things I will tell you in the emanation of the universe* 

Piafc Soph. p. 225, Copt. 

4 Ibid. p. 222, Copt. 5 Ibid. p. 127, Copt. 

6 See Chap. IX, pp. 121, 122 supra. 

7 HeK vi 19. 

* p. 203, Copt. Why there should be 24, when the dodecad or group of 
Aeons in the world above was only 12, it is difficult to say. But Hippolytus 
supplies a sort of explanation when he says (025. oiU Bk vx. c. 3, p, 292, 
Cruice) : Tara conv & Xeym;<r/ $r* [Se] *rpos- rourots, 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 145 

given later in the book, it would appear that its author did 
not at all discard the view of the earlier Ophites that the 
Supreme Being was to be figured as of human form, for we 
find him remarking that the First Mystery himself proceeded 
from the " last limb " or member of the Ineffable One 1 . For 
the rest, it need only be pointed out here that the powers who 
address Jesus in the quotation just given also speak of 
themselves as His ** members " ; but that notwithstanding 
this, they must be looked upon as purely spiritual entities 
having no direct connection with any material forms except 
as paradigms or patterns 2 . Whatever the worlds which they 

TTJV iracrav avrStv StSacrjcaXtW, as TrpoetTroz/ [TOVS] evros nX^pck/xetros- Ai&vas 
TpicLKovTa rrd\iv eTri-rrpo/Se/SX^Kevai CIVTOL? Kara dvaXoyiav Al&vas aXXou?, tv* 
TJ TO H\f)pa>p,a ev api#/z<5 rsXc/w <rvvr)6poLcrfjLvov. 'Q,s yap ol ILvQayopiKol 
O. KCLL rpiaKovra KOL i^rfKovra^ KOL X^Trra XfTrroJv elcriv e'/ceiVofr, 
ovras ov rot ra evros HXrjp&fJiaTos VTroftiaLpovaiv. "This is 
what they say. But besides this, they make their whole teaching 
arithmetical, since they say that the thirty Aeons within the Pleroma again 
projected by analogy other Aeons, so that thereby the Pleroma may be 
gathered together in a perfect number. For the manner in which the 
Pythagoreans divide [the cosmos] into 12, 30, and 60 parts, and each of 
these into yet more minute ones, has been made plain " [see op. cit. Bk vx 
c. 28, p. 279, where Hippolytus tells us how Pythagoras divided each Sign 
of the Zodiac into 30 parts " which are days of the month, these last into 
60 XfTrra, and so on"]. " In this way do they [the ValentLoians] divide 
the things within the Pleroma." Cf. Mcpor rewx&v Sorijpos p. 364, 
Copt. In another book of the Philosophumena (Bk rv. c. 7 TLfpl TT?P 
api6fj,cTiK7J$ rx vr )*) ne explains how the Pythagoreans derived infinity from 
a single principle by a succession of odd and even or male and female num- 
bers, in connection with which he quotes Simon Magus (op. tit. p. 132, 
Crnice). The way this was applied to names he shows in the chapter 
n>pl pa&rjiLaTiK&v (&p. cit. Bk rv. c. 11, pp. 77 sgq., Ouice) which is in fact 
a description of what in the Middle Ages was called Arithmomaa&ey, or 
divination by numbers. 

1 p. 224, Copt. See also p. 241, Copt. a very curious passage where 
the Ineffable One is called " the God of Truth without foot " (cf. Osiris as 
a mummy) and is said to live apart from Ms " members." 

2 In the beginning of the Mty&s rev^wp 2<7%0s> (p. 252, Copt.) it is 
said of the Ineffable that " there are many members, but one body." But 
this statement is immediately followed by another that this is only said 
" as a pattern (Trapafatypa) and a likeness and a resemblance, but not 
in truth of shape " (p. 253, Copt.). 

L. IT. 10 

146 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [GEL 

inhabit may be thought to be like and Jesus more than once 
tells His disciples that there is nothing on earth to which they 
can be compared we can only say that they are two in number, 
and that it is the two " vestures of light " sent to Jesus on the 
Mount of Olives, or, in other words, His two natures, which 
give Him the means of ascending to the heavens of the Ineffable 
One and of the First Mystery respectively. If the author ever 
intended to discuss them further 3 he has certainly not done 
so in the Pistis Sophia properly so called 1 . 

On the other hand, the worlds and powers existing " below 
the veil/' or within the comprehension of the senses, and sym- 
bolized by the third and inferior " vesture " sent to Jesus, 
are indicated even in the address given above with fair 
particularity. Their names and relative positions are not easy 
to identify ; but, thanks to some hints given in other parts 
of the book, the universe below " the veil " may be recon- 
structed thus 2 : its upper part contains the Treasure-house 
of light where, as its name implies, the light as it is redeemed 
from matter is stored up. There are below it five other worlds 
called the Parastatae or Helpers, in one of which Jesus is to 
reign during the millennium, and the ruler of the last of which 
arranges the pure spirits who dwell below it 3 . The highest 

1 What he does say is that the IneSable One has two ^o>p7jftara or 
receptacles and that the second of these is the ^o>pr/^a of the First Mystery. 
It is, I think, probable that an attempt to describe both these ^p^ara is 
made in one of the documents of the Bruce Papyrus. See pp. 191, 192 infra. 

2 In addition to the enumeration contained in the so-called interpre- 
tation of the mysterious " Five Words," there appears in the 2nd part of 
the Pistis Sophia (pp. 206 sqg. Copt.) a long rhapsody in which it is declared 
that a certain mystery knows why all the powers, stars, and heavenly 
" places " were made. These are here again set out s&riatirn, and as the 
order in the main corresponds with that in the Five " Words," translated 
in the text, it serves as a check upon this last. The order of the powers in 
the text waa given in the article in the Scottish Review before referred to, 
and, although this was written 20 years ago, I see no occasion to alter it. 

3 It is the " last Parastates " who places Jeft and his companion in 
' the place of those who belong to the right hand according to the arrange- 
ment (.e. olKovafjLLa) of the Assembly of the Light which is in the Height 
of the Bukrs of the Aeons and in the universes (KOO>M>I) and every race 
which is therein " (p. 103, Copt,). A later revelation is promised as to these, 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 147 

spirit in the Treasure-house is called the First Precept or the 
Recorder, and with him is associated the Great Light, who is 
said to be the "legate" of the Ineffable One 1 . In the Treasure- 
house there are also the orders of spirits set out in the address 
just quoted, the only two to which it is necessary to refer 
here being the Five Trees 2 and the Twelve Saviours. From 
the Five Trees emanated the great " Powers of the Eight 
Hand " to be next mentioned ; while, as is before described, 
the Twelve Saviours furnished the spotless souls required for 
the Twelve Apostles 3 . The lower part of the same universe 
is called the Kerasmos or Confusion, because here the light, 
which in the upper part is pure, is mingled with matter. It 
is divided in the first instance into three parts, the Eight-hand, 
the Middle, and the Left-hand 4 . Of these, the Eight-hand 
contains the spirits who emanated from the Five Trees of the 
Treasure-house. At their head is Jeu, who has supreme 
authority over all the Confusion 5 . He is called the Overseer 

but in the meantime it is said that Jeu emanated from the chosen or pure 
(clXtKpivTjf) light of the first of the Five Trees (loc. tit.). 

1 See nn. 1 and 3, p. 141 supra. As has been said, it is difficult not to see 
in this " 1st Precept " a personification of the Torah or Jewish Law. 

2 See n. 3, p. 146 supra. 

3 See n. 2, p. 136 supra. 

4 So Secundus, Valentinus' follower, taught according to Hippolytos 
(v. Chap. IX supra) " that there is a right and a left tetrad, i.e. light and 
darkness." This may be taken to mean that the constitution of the light- 
world was repeated point for point in the world of darkness. The middle 
world is of course that where light and darkness mingle* 

5 Jeu is generally called the iriar<o7ros or overseer of the loght He 
it is who has placed the Rulers of the Aeons so that they always " behold 
the left " (p. 26, Copt.). He is also said to have bound " in the beginning " 
the rulers of the Aeons and of Destiny and of the Sphere in their respective 
places (p. 34, Copt.), and that each and every of them will remain in the 
-rots- or order and walk in the 8p6fju>s or course in which he placed 
them. We also hear in the Pistils SopMa proper of two " books of Jeft ** 
" which Enoch wrote when the Blrst Mystery spoke with Trim out of the 
Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge in the Paradise of Adam " (p. 246, 
Copt.). In the first part of the Mepas rev^v Sor^pos, however Jeu is 
described as "the [First Man, the eVco-Ko^os- of the Light, and the 
irpeo-ftcvTTjs or Ambassador of the First Precept " (p. 322, Copt.) ; and 
It is further said in the same book that " the Book of Jeu (not books) 


148 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

of the Light, and in his name we may possibly recognize a 
corruption of the Hebrew Yahweh. With him and o similar 
origin is Melchisedek 1 , the Inheritor, Eeceiver or Purifier of the 
light, whose office it is to take the portions of light as they are 
redeemed into the Treasure-house 2 . Another emanation from 
the Five Trees is an otherwise unnamed Guard of the Veil of 
the Treasure-house 3 which seems to be the veil dividing the 

which Enoch wrote in Paradise when I (Jesus) spoke with him oat of the 
Tree of Life and the Tree of Knowledge " was placed by His means in " the 
rook Ararad." Jesus goes on to say that He placed " Kalapatauroth the 
rider who is over Skemmut in which is the foot of Jeft, and he surrounds 
all rulers and destinies I placed that ruler to guard the books of Jeu from 
the Mood and lest any of the rulers should destroy them out of envy " 
(p. 354, Copt.). 

1 Melchmdek is very seldom mentioned in the Pistis Sophia, "but when 
he is, it is always as the great TrapaX^frT^p or " inheritor " of the Light 
(p. 34, Copt.). Jesus describes how he comes among the Rulers of the Aeons 
at certain times and takes away their light, which he purifies (p. 35, Copt.). 
He is said to have emanated from the light of the 5th Tree of the Treasure 
House, as Jeu did from that of the 1st (p. 193, Copt.). In the Mepos 
TVX&V ScoTT/posvhe is called the great TrapaXrjp.TTT^s or ''receiver" of the Light 
(p. 292, Copt.). In the 2nd part of the last named document he is called 
Zorocothora Melchizidek, an epithet which C. W. King in The Gnostics and 
their E&mains translates " light-gatherer." It is also said in the same 2nd 
part that "he and Jeu are the two great lights," and that he is the Trpco-pevrrjs 
or " Legate " of all the lights which are purified in the Eulers of the Aeons 
(p. 365, Copt.). We may perhaps see in him and Jeu the antitypes of 
which the Great Light and the First Precept are the paradigms. Hippoly- 
tus, op. tit. Bk vn. c. 36, p. 391, Cruice, says that there was a sect, the fol- 
lowers of one Theodotus, a Tpcnrc&Trjs or money-changer, who said that 
there was " a greatest power named Melchizidek who was greater than 
Christ. ; > Pseudo-Tertullian repeats the same story and adds that Mel- 
chizidek is " a celestial virtue of great grace," who does for heavenly angels 
and virtues what Christ does for men, having made himself " their 
intercessor and advocate," See auct. cit. (probably Victorinus of Pettau) 
Against all Heresies, c. xxrv. p. 279, Oehi He doubtless founded his 
opinion on the passage in the Hebrews. The name seems to mean 
" Holy King J> Of. the " King of Glory " of the Manichaeans, see Chap. 

a p. 35, Copt. 

3 He is said to have emanated from the 2nd Tree (p. 193, Copt) and is 
nowhere distinctly named. But one may perhaps guess from the order in 
which he oceurs in tlw* 2nd part of the Mepos TCVX&V 2o>r%>o that 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 149 

Treasure-house from the Place of the Eight-hand, and there 
are two others of equal rank who are called simply the two 
Prohegumeni or Forerunners 1 . Below these again is the 
Great Sabaoth the Good, who supplied, as we have seen, the 
soul which was in Jesus at His birth, and who is himself the 
emanation, not of any of the Five Trees, but of Jeu 2 . He 
seems to have a substitute or messenger called the little Sabaoth 
the Good, who communicates directly with the powers of 
matter. In the Middle come the powers who are set over 
the reincarnation of souls and the consequent redemption of 
mankind. Of these, the only two named are " the Great lao 
the Good 3 ," spoken of in one passage as the Great Hegumen 
(or Leader) of the Middle 4 . He, too, has a minister called 
" the Little lao" who supplies the " power " which, with the 
soul of Elijah, animated the body of John the Baptist 5 . He 
also has twelve deacons or ministers under him 6 . The other 

his name was Zarazaz, evidently a cryptogram like those mentioned in 
n. 1, p. 139 supra. It is also said that the Rulers call him " Maskelli after 
the name of a strong (i.e. male) ruler of their own place (p. 370, Copt.).'* 
This name of MaskeUi, sometimes written Maskelli-maskello, is frequently 
met with in the Magic Papyri. Cf . Wessely, Ephe&ia Cbrammata, p. 28. 

3 They are said to have emanated from the 3rd and 4th Tree respectively 
(p. 193, Copt.). 

2 p. 193, Copt. He is evidently called the Good because there is a 
wicked Sabaoth sometimes called Sabaoth Adamas, and the Great because 
there is a Little Sabaoth the Good who seems to act as his messenger. It 
is this last who takes the power from the Great Sabaoth the Good which 
afterwards becomes the body of Jesus and "casts it into matter and 
Barbelo " (p 127, Copt.). He seems to be set over or in some way identified 
with what is called the Gate of Life (p. 215, Copt.) both in the Pistis SopMa 
and the Mepos- revx&v Swrjpos (p. 292, Copt.). 

3 p. 12, Copt., where he is oddly enough called the Little lao the Good, 
I think by a clerical error. Later ne is said to be " the great leader of the 
middle whom the Bulers call the Great lao after the name of a great ruler 
in their own place " (p. 194, Copt.). He is described in the same way in 
the second part of the Me/x>s TCVX&V 'S<mjpos (p, 371, Copt.). 

4 See last note. 

5 P. 12, Copt. Thjg " power" is evidently the better part of man's soul 
like the Logoi who dwell therein in the passage quoted above from Valen- 
tjnus, see Chap. IX, p. 112 swpm* 

p. 194, Copt. 

150 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [GEL 

great Leader of the Middle is the Virgin of Light 1 . She it is 
who chooses the bodies into which the souls of men shall be 
put at conception, in discharge of which duty she sends the 
soul of Elijah into the body of John the Baptist, her colleague 
lao's share in the work being apparently limited to providing 
the " power " accompanying it. She has among her assistants 
seven other virgins of light 2 , after whose likeness Mary the 
Mother of Jesus and Mary Magdalene are said to have been 
made, and we also read of " receivers " who are under her 
orders 3 . The light of the Sun " in its true shape " is said to 
be in her place 4 , and there is some reason for thinking that 
she is to be considered as the power which directs the material 
Sun : while her colleague lac has the same office as regards 
the Moon 5 . 

We now come to the places of the left, the highest of which 
seems to be that which is called the Thirteenth Aeon. This 
is a part of the universe the existence of which Jesus conceals 
from His disciples until He receives his " vestures/' and there 
is much mystery as to its origin. It seems to have been 
governed in the first instance by a triad consisting of an un- 
named power referred to as the Great Forefather or the Great 
Unseen One, a female power called Barbelo 6 , and a second 

1 See n. 3, p. 137 supra. 

2 So the Me/jor TVX&V SuTTjpos (p. 327, Copt.). 

3 The likeness of Mary the Mother and Mary Magdalene to the seven 
Virgins appears in the translation of AmeHneau (Pistis Sophia, Paris, 1895, 
p. 60). Schwartze (p. 75, Lat.) puts it rather differently* See also Schmidt, 
K.-G.S. bd. 1, p. 75. The " receivers " of the Virgin of Light are mentioned 
on p. 292, Copt. 4 p. 184, Copt. 

5 pp, 340, 341, Copt. As io fioh) is Coptic for the Moon, it is 
just possible that there may be a kind of pun here on this word and the 
name lao. Osiris, whose name was often equated by the Alexandrian 
Jews with their own divine name Jaho or Jah, as in the Manethonian story of 
Osarsiph=== Joseph, was also considered a Moon-god. Cf. the "Hymn of 
the Mysteries " given in Chap. VIII, where he is called " the holy horned 
moon of heaven.** 

6 See note 1, p. 13S supra. The Bruce Papyrus (Amelineau, Notice sur 
le Papyrus Gwstiqw Bruce, Paris, 1882, p. 220) speaks of the " Thirteenth 
Aeon, where are the Great Unseen God and the Great Virgin of the Spirit 
(cf. the TrapQcvtKr) nr^ev/ia of Irenaeus) and the twenty-four emanations 
of the unseen God," 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 151 

male called the Authades or Proud God 1 who plays a principal 
part in the episode of Pistis Sophia which forms the ostensible 
theme of the book. Of the Great Forefather, we are told 
nothing of importance, but what is said of the female power 
Barbelo bears out fully the remark which Hippolytus attri- 
butes to Valentinus that among the lesser powers or aeons 
the female merely projects the substance, while it is the male 
which gives form to it 2 . It is doubtless for this reason that 
it is from her that the body of Jesus is said to have come 
i.e. that she provided the matter out of which it was formed 
in the first instance, and which had, as He says later in the 
present book, to be purged and cleansed by Himself 3 . She 
is also spoken of throughout as the origin of all the matter 
within the world of sense 4 . This triad, constantly referred 
to throughout the book as the Three Tridynami or Triple 
Powers, have put forth, before the story opens, twenty-four other 
powers arranged in twelve syzygies or pairs who are spoken of as 
the Twenty-four Unseen Ones, and who inhabit with them the 
Thirteenth Aeon. Only one of these is named and this is the 
inferior or female member of the last syzygy. She is named 
Pistis Sophia, and gives, as we have seen, her name to the book 5 . 
We now pass from the unseen world, which can neverthe- 
less be comprehended as being in part at least material, to 
the starry world above us which is plainly within the reach 

1 See n. 2, p. 142 supra. 

2 See Chapter IX, p. 104 supra. 

3 p. 116, Copt. 

4 I suppose it is in view of this maternal aspect of her nature that she 
is alluded to in the latter part of the Mepas- TWX&V 2a>Tfjpo$ as 
/SapjST/Xa) /SSeXXr; " Barbelo who gives suck " ? Her place, according to 
the Bruce Papyrus (Amelineau, p. 218), is said to he in the Twelfth Aeon. 

5 There have been many attempts to make this name mean something 
else than merely " Faith- Wisdom.*' Dulauriear and Renan both tried to 
read it " TTICTTT) So^'a " " the faithful Wisdom " or " La fidele Sagesse." 
If we had more documents of the style of Simon's Apopkasis, we should 
probably find that this apposition of two or more nouns in a name waa 
not infrequent, and the case of Ptaii-Sokaar-Osiris will occur to every 
Egyptologist. The fact that the name includes the first and last female 
member of the Dodecad of Valentinus (see p. 101 swpra) is really its most 
plausible explanation. 

152 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

of our organs of sense. The controlling part in this is taken 
by the powers called the Twelve Aeons, who are ruled before 
the advent of Jesus by a power called, like the Supreme Being 
in the Ophite system, Adamas 1 . As they are called in one 
passage the 12 hours of the day, it may be concluded that 
they are the 12 zodiacal signs or, in other words, the Zodiac 
or 12 constellations of fixed stars through which the sun appears 
to pass in his yearly course 2 . Although nowhere expressly 
stated, it may be concluded that they emanated from the last 
member of the triad of the Left, i.e. the Authades, who is here 
said to have been disobedient in refusing " to give up the purity 

1 This Adamas seems to be an essentially evil power, who wages useless 
war against the Light on the entry of Jesus into his realm (p. 25, Copt.). 
His seat is plainly the Twelve Aeons or Zodiac (p. 157, Copt.), and it is said 
in the M*po? TVX&V Sojr^pos- that his " kingdom " is in the roiroi K<pa\Tjs 
alwtov or Places of the head of the Aeons and is opposite the place of the 
Virgin of Light (p. 336, Copt.). In the second part of the same document 
(i.e. the /i. r. or.) it is said that the rulers of Adamas rebelled, persisting in the 
act of copulation ((ruvovo-La) and begetting " Rulers and Archangels and 
Angels and Ministers (\cirovpyot) and Decans" (Ae/cai/oi'^ and that thereupon 
Jeu went forth from the Place of the Right and " bound them in Heimarmene 
and the Sphere.' * We further learn that half the Aeons headed by Jabraoth, 
who is also once mentioned in the Pistis Sophia proper (p. 128, Copt., and 
again in the Bruce Papyrus, Amelineau, p. 239), were consequently trans- 
ferred to another place, while Adamas, now for the first time called Sabaoth 
Adamas, with the unrepentant rulers are confined in the Sphere to the 
number of 1800, over whom 360 other rulers bear sway, over whom again are 
set the five planets Saturn, Mars, Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter (pp. 360, 361, 
Copt.). All this seems to me to be ]ater than the Pistis Sophia proper, to 
have been written at a time when belief in astrology was more rife than in 
Hadrian's reign, and to owe something to Manichaean influence. The original 
Adamas, the persecutor of Pistis Sophia herself, seems identifiable with the 
Biabolos or Cosmocrator of Valentinus, in which case we may perhaps see 
in the "Great Propator" a merely stupid and ignorant power like the 
Jaldabaoth of the Ophites and their successors. See p. 163 infra. 

2 p, 145, Copt. So Irenaeus in his account of the Valentinian doctrines, 
Bk i. c. 1, p. 12 sqq. I suppose there is an allusion to this in the remark of 
Jesus to Mary that a year is as a day (p. 243, Copt . ). But all the astrology of 
the time seems to have divided the astronomical day not into 24, but into 
12 hours. It was the same with the Manichaeans. See Chavannes and 
Pelliot, w< Un Tralt6 manicheen retrouv6 en Chine," Journal 

serie x, t. xvm. (Nov.-Dec. 1911), p. 540, n. 4. 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 153 

of his light," no doubt when the earth was made, and is accused 
of ambition in wishing to rule the Thirteenth Aeon. Through 
his creature, Adamas their king,, he induces the rulers of the 
Twelve Aeons to delay the redemption of the light from matter. 
It is from their matter that are made the souls, not only of 
men, but of beasts, birds, and reptiles 1 , and if they Vere allowed 
to do as they pleased, the process would go on for ever, as it 
is the habit of these Archons " to turn about and devour 
their own ejecta, the breath of their mouths, the tears of their 
eyes, and the sweat of their bodies," so that the same matter 
is used over and over again 2 . Below the starry world comes 
the Sphere of Heimarmene or Destiny, so called apparently 
because both the earthly and heavenly lot of each soul is 
determined on its downward passage through it, and below 
that again the Sphere simply so called, which is the visible 
firmament apparently stretched above us. The Archons of 
the Aeons, of whom Adamas is the chief, rule their own and 
both these lower spheres, and the only hindrance to their 
dilatory manoeuvres prior to the advent of Jesus was caused 
Tby Melchizidek the Receiver of the Light 3 , who came among 
them at stated times, took away their- light, and, after having 
purified it, stored it up in the Treasure-house. This was 

1 But curiously enough, not the " souls " of fish. So in the Middle 
Ages, the Manichaeans of Languedoc did not allow their " Perfects " to 
partake of animal food nor even of eggs, but allowed them fish, because 
they said these creatures were not begotten by copulation. See Schmidt, 
Hist, des Cathares, Paris, 1843. Is this one of the reasons why Jeans is 
caUed 9 l x Ms ? 

2 This idea of man being made from the tears of the eyes of the heavenly 
powers is an old one in Egypt. So Maspero explains the well-known sign 
of the utchat or Eye of Horns as that " qui exprime la matiere, le corps da 
soleil, d'ou tons les etres decoulent sous forme de pleurs," "Les Hypogees 
Royaux de Thebes," fit. figyptd. n. p, ,130. Moret* " Le verbe createur et 
revelateur en figypte," 1L E. M. Mai-Juin, 1909, p. S86, gives many instances 
from hymns and other ritoal documents. It was known to Proclus who 
transfers it after Ids mamer to Orphems and makes it into hexameters : 

Thy teaiB.are t&e mtw&^nduring race, of men, 
By thy laugh thou hast raised up the sacred race of gods. 
See Abel's OrpMca, fr. 236. 

3 See n. 1, p. 148 supra. 

154 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [GEL 

apparently done through, the medium of the sun and moon y 
who seem to have acted in the matter as the " receivers " of 
Melchizidek 1 . 

We can now resume the narrative of the book which has- 
been interrupted in order that a description of the universe 
through which Jesus passes on His ascension might be given. 
He tells His disciples that clothing Himself in His third or 
least glorious " vesture," He flew up to the firmament, the 
gates of which opened spontaneously to give Him passage 2 * 
Entering in, the Archons there were all struck with terror at 
the light of- His vesture, and wondered how the " Lord of the 
Universe 3 " passed through them unnoticed on his descent to 
earth 4 . The same scenes are repeated when He enters the 
Sphere of Destiny, and again when He reaches the Twelve 
Aeons or Zodiac of fixed stars. Before leaving the Twelve 
Aeons, Jesus takes away from its rulers a third part of their 
power, and alters their course, so that its direction is changed 
every six months. This He does, as He tells His disciples,, 
for a double reason. He thereby prevents the Aeons from 
devouring their own matter, and so delaying the redemption 
of the light, and He further hinders their movements from 
being used by mankind in the divination and magic which 
the sinning angels taught when "they came down" a clear 
reference to the story in Genesis of the fall of the angels as- 
amplified in the Book of Enoch. This alteration, He declares, 

1 This is, perhaps, to be gathered from the Pistis Sophia, p. 36, Copt, 
Of. Mfpos rvx&v 2a>r7?pof, pp. 337-338. In another part of the last-named 
document, the Moon-ship is described as steered by a male and female dragon 
(the caduceus of Hermes ?) who snatch away the light of the Rulers (p. 360, 

2 This seems to be the passage referred to later by Origen. See n. 2^ 
p. 159 infra. 

3 The usual epithet or appellation of Osiris Neb-er-tcher~IjOrd of 
Totality or the Universe. Of. Badge, Book of the Dead, passim. 

4 So in the Ascensio Isaiae, of which Mr Charles says that " we cannot 
be sure that it existed earlier than the latter half of the 2nd century of our 
Era,** it is said (Chap. IX, v. 15) " And thus His descent, as you will see, 
will be hidden even from the heavens, so that it will not be known who 
He is." Charles, The Ascension of Isaiah, p. 62. Ci ibid. pp. 67, 70, 
73 and 79- 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 155 

was foreshadowed by tlie text " I have shortened the times 
for my elect's sake 1 ." 

Passing upward to the Thirteenth Aeon, Jesus tells His 
disciples that he found Pistis Sophia dwelling alone in a place 
immediately below it, and He here makes a long digression to 
recount her history. She is, as has been said above, one of the 
twenty- four invisible but material emanations projected by the 
Great Unseen Forefather and his consort Barbelo, and formerly 
dwelt with her own partner, whose name is not mentioned, in 
the Thirteenth Aeon 2 . But one day happening to look forth 
from her place and beholding the light of the Treasure-house, 
she longed to ascend towards it and began to sing praises to it. 
This angered exceedingly the Authades or Proud God, the Third 
Triple Power or chief of the Thirteenth Aeon, who had already, 
as has been said, shown his disobedience in refusing to give 
up his light. Out of envy and jealousy of Pistis Sophia, he 
sends forth from himself a great power with a lion's face who 
is " half flame and half darkness " and bears the name of 
Jaldabaoth, which we have met with before among the Ophites 3 . 
This Jaldabaoth is sent below into the regions of Chaos, the 
unformed and shapeless darkness which is either below or 
surrounds the earth 4 , and when Pistis Sophia sees him shining 

1 pp. 39, 40, Copt. The reference is apparently to the Book of Enoch, 
c. LXXX. (see Charles, Book of Enoch, pp. 212, 213, and the EpMe of Barna- 
bas, N.T. extra can., c. iv. p. 9, Hilgenfeld). In the Latin version of the 
last-quoted book, it is assigned to Daniel, which shows perhaps the con- 
nection of Enoch with all this quasi-prophetic or apocalyptic iteratore. 

2 According to the Valentinian system, his name was e&Ttjrbs or 
" the Beloved." See Chap. IX, p. 101 supra. 

3 See Chap. "VIII supra. Here he occupies a far inferior position to 
that assigned him by the Ophites. In the Mepos revx&v 'S.t&rijpos he 
sinks lower still and becomes merely one of the torturers in hell (p. 382, 
Copt., K.r.X.). Thus, as is usual in matters of religion, the gods of one age 
become the fiends of the next. In the Bruce Papyrus (Anielineau, p. 212) 
he appears as one of the chiefs of the Third Aeon. It is curious, however, 
to observe how familiar the name must have been to what Origen calls 
" a certain secret theology^" so that it was necessary to give him some place 
in every system of Gmsticism. His bipartite appearance may be taken 
from Ezekiel viiL 2. 

4 Probably the latter. % See what is said about the Outer Darkness in 
the Mepos rtvx&v S<T%>O^ p. 319, Copt, where it is described as "a great 

156 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

there, she mistakes his light for the light of the Treasure- 
house, and, leaving her consort, plunges downwards towards 
it. She is instantly seized by Jaldabaoth and other wicked 
powers sent forth by the Proud God, and grievously tormented 
with the object of taking from her her light, so that she may 
never again be able to return to her own place. In this plight, 
she sings several Metanoiae or hymns of penitence to the light, 
and after seven of these, Jesus, as He says, " from pity and 
without commandment," raises her to the uppermost parts of 
Chaos where she is slightly more at ease 1 . She continues here 
to sing hymns of penitence, but is tormented afresh until, 
after her ninth repentance, Jesus receives command from the 
First Mystery to succour her. This he does in a battle with 
fresh emanations from the Authades, including one in the 
shape of " a flying arrow 2 ." Adamas, the king of the wicked 
Eons, also sends a power to the assistance of Jaldabaoth, and 
the other emanations of the Proud God turn into serpents, 
a basilisk with seven heads, and a dragon 3 . The powers of 
light sent by Jesus, however, defeat all her enemies, and the 
archangels Gabriel and Michael bear her aloft and establish her 
in the place below the Thirteenth Aeon, where Jesus finds her 
on His ascension as here recorded. But this is not the end. 
Jesus tells her that when " three times " are fulfilled 4 , she 

dragon whose tail is in his mouth who is without the whole KOO-^OS and 
aurrounds it." 

1 p. 83, Copt. So in the Manichaean legend, the First Man, on being 
taken captive by Satan, prays seven times to the Light and is delivered 
from the Darkness in which he is imprisoned. See Chap. XIII infra. 

2 This demon in the shape of a flying arrow seems to be well known in 
Rabbinic lore, Mr Whinfield in J.R.A.S., April, 1910, pp. 485, 486, describes 
him as having a head like a calf, with one horn rising out of his forehead like 
a cruse or pitcher, while to look upon him is certain death to man or beast. 
His authority seems to be Rapaport's Tales from the Midrash. 

8 The basilisk with seven heads seems to be Death. See Gaster, "The 
Apocalypse of Abraham," T.S.B.A. voL ix. pt 1, p. 222, where this is said 
to be the " true shape " of death. Cf. Kohler, " Pre-Talmudic Haggadah>" 
J.Q.R., 189$, p. 590. Death, as we have seen in Chap. IX, p. 107, was in 
the ideas of Valentinus the creature of the Demiurge. For the dragon, see 
Whinfield, ubi cfa 

* These " three times " are not years. As the Pistis Sophia opens with 
the announcement that Jesus spent 12 years on earth alter the Resurrection, 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 157 

will be tormented again. This happens as predicted im- 
mediately before the descent of the "vesture" on Him on 
the Mount of Olives. Thereupon, He delivers her for the 
last time and restores her to her place in the 13th Aeon, where 
she sings to him a final hymn of thanksgiving. 

This completes the episode of Pistis Sophia, and the rest 
of the book is filled with the questionings upon it of Mary 
Magdalene and the other disciples, among whom are prominent 
Mary the Mother of Jesus, Salome, Martha, St John the Divine, 
St Philip, St Thomas, and St Matthew, to which last-named 
three is said to be entrusted the recording of the words of 
Jesus, together with St Peter, St James and St Andrew. This 
has led some commentators to think that the work may possibly 
be the Interrogations of Mary (' E/wnfaw Map /a?), concerning 
which Epiphanius says that two versions, a greater and a lesser, 
were used by several Gnostic sects 1 . These questionings and 
the answers of Jesus are extremely tedious, and include the 
comparison of the hymns of Pistis Sophia, fourteen in all, with 
certain named Psalms and Odes of David and Solomon of 
which they are said to be the " interpretation 2 ," In the 
course of this, however, the purpose of the book is disclosed, 

we may suppose that He was then if the author accepted the traditional 
view that He suffered at 33 exactly 45 years old, and the " time " would 
then be a period of 15 years, as was probably the indiction The descent 
of the " two vestures " upon Jesus is said (p. 4, Copt.) to have taken place 
" on the 15th day of the month Tybi " which is the day Clement of Alex- 
andria (Strom. Bk I. c. 21) gives for the birth of Jesus. He says the followers 
of Basilides gave the same day as that of His baptism. 

1 Epiphanius, Haer. xxn. t, n. pt 1, p. 181, Oehler. 

2 This doctrine of epwveia occurs all through the book. The author 
is trying to make out that well-known passages of both the Old and New 
Testaments were in fact prophetic utterances showing forth in advance the 
marvels he narrates. While the Psalms of David quoted by him are Canoni- 
cal, the Odes of Solomon arc the Apocrypha known under that name and 
quoted by Lactantius (Div. In#t. Bk rv. e. 12). For some time the Pistis 
Sophia was the only authority for their contents, but m 1909 Dr Bendel 
Hams found nearly the whole collection in a Syriae MS. of the 16th century. 
A translation has since been published in Cambridge Texts and Studies, 
vol. vm. No. 3, Cambridge, 1912, by the Bishop of Ossory, who shows, as 
it seems conclusively, that they were the hymns sung by the newly-baptized 

a the Primitive Cburdb. 

158 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [en. 

and appears as the revelation of the glories awaiting the be- 
liever in the world to come, the coming of the Millennium, and 
the announcement that Jesus has brought the " mysteries " 
to the earth for the salvation of men. But before describing 
these, it may be as well to draw attention to the manifest 
likeness between the theology and cosmology of the Pistis 
Sophia proper and what has been said above of the tenets of 
the Ophites and of Valentinus. 

At first sight, the Pistis Sophia in this respect seems to be 
almost entirely an Ophite book. The Ineffable One, as has 
been said, is not to be distinguished from the Ophite Bythos, 
while " the First Mystery looking inward and outward " is 
a fairly close parallel to the First Man and the Son of Man 
of the Ophite system. The names Sabaoth, lao, and Jalda- 
baoth also appear both here and with the Ophites, although 
the last-named power now occupies a greatly inferior position 
to that assigned to him by them, and from a merely ignorant 
power has now become an actively malignant one. The work 
assigned to Sophia Without in the older system is here taken 
in the Place of the Middle by the Virgin of Light, who is 
throughout the working agent in the salvation of mankind ; 
but it should be noted that she here operates directly and 
not through a grosser power as with the Ophites. The idea 
of a female divinity ordering the affairs of men for their good 
as a mother with her children had already gained possession 
of the heathen world in the character of (the Greek) Isis, and 
in the hint here given as to the resemblance between her 
delegates and the Virgin Mary, we may see, perhaps, the road 
by which the Christian world travelled towards that con- 
ception of the Theotokos or Mother of God which played such 
an important part in its later creed. Among the powers 
inferior to her the names and places are changed, but the 
general arrangement remains nearly the same as with the 
Ophites, especially the Ophites of the diagram. The starry 
world in particular here comes much into evidence, and is given 
more important functions than in any other Gnostic system 
except the Ophite 1 . The " Gates " of the firmaments are met 

1 Astrological doctrine first becomes prominent in Gnostie teaching 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 159 

with both, here and in the Ophite prayers or " defences " 
recorded by Origen 1 , and an allusion put by this last into the 
mouth of Celsus and not otherwise explained, to " gates that 
open of their own accord," looks as if Origen's heathen adversary 
may himself have come across the story of the Pistis Sophia*. 
The general hostility of this starry world and its rulers towards 
mankind is a leading feature in both systems. 

On the other hand, the parallels between the theology of 
the Pistis Sophia and that of Valentinus are even closer, and 
are too important to be merely accidental. The complete 
identification of Jesus with the First Mystery strongly recalls 
the statement of Valentinus, rather slurred over by the Fathers, 
that Jesus was Himself the Joint Fruit or summary of the 
perfections of the whole Pleroma or Godhead, and is a much 
more Christian conception than that of the earlier Ophites 
as to His nature 3 . So, too, the curious theory that each of 

in the Excerpta Theodoti which we owe to Clement of Alexandria. We may 
therefore put their date about the year 200. This would be after the time 
of Valentinus himself, but agrees well with what M. Cumont (Astrology and 
Rdigion, pp. 96 ag#0 says as to the great vogue which astrology attained 
in Rome under the Seven*. Its intrusion into the Valentinian doctrines 
is much more marked in the Mepos- Tfvx&v Samjpo? than in the Pistis Sophia, 
and more in the Bruce Papyrus than in either. 

1 See Chap. VIII, pp. 73, 74 supra. 

2 Origen, cont. Cels. Bk VL c, 34. 

3 Hippolytus (Chap. IX, p. 92), speaks of the Jesus of Valentinus as 
the Joint Fruit of the Pleroma simply. Irenaeus (Bk i. c. 1, p. 23, 
Harvey) goes into more detail: Kat virep rfjs cvTrotias ravnjs /SovX?; jua KOL 
yvd)fj,r} TO TTCLV TfXrj pa>fia TG>V Ald>va>v 9 (rvvevo'OKOvvTos TOV Xptcrrov K.CU TovHvev- 
jftaros-, TOV & IXarpos- avr&v (rweTrio-^paytfo/iePOv, eva eKaorov TGSV Al&v&v, 
oirep el}(v ev eaur<5 /caXXicrrov Kal avtirjporaTov o~vvevyKafjLcvovs Kai epavicra- 

KOI TOVTCL dp/ioStcos 7r\eavTa$, KOL efipcX&s fvwravras 9 TrpojSaXetr^ai 


ftaroff, reXetov KapTrov TOV 'lya-ovy ov KOL 2e>r^pa irpo<rayopfv0fjvai, <at 
Xpurrov, KOI A.6yov iraTp&vofjiiK&s KCLL KOTO, [<at ra] Havra, 8ia TO a^r^ irdvr&v 
*lvau " And because of this benefit, with one will and opinion, the whole 
Pleroma of the Aeons, with the consent of Christos and the Spirit, and their 
Father having set his seal upon the motion, brought together and combined 
what each of them had in him which was most beautiful and brightest, and 
wreathing these fittingly together and properly uniting them, they projected 
a projection to the honour and glory of Bythos, the most perfect beauty 
and star of the Pleroma* the perfect Fruit Jesus, who is also called Saviour 

160 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

the lower worlds has its own " saviour " finds expression in 
both systems, as does the idea that Jesus received something 
from all the worlds through which He passed on His way to 
earth. One may even find a vivid reminiscence of the Valen- 
tinian nomenclature in the name of Pistis Sophia herself > 
which combines the names of the feminine members of the 
first and last syzygies of the Valentinian Dodecad 1 , Pistis 
there being the spouse of Paracletus or the Legate, and Sophia, 
that of Theletus or the Beloved, while the cause of her fall 
in the present book is the same as that assigned in the system 
of Valentinus. Hence it may appear that the author of the 
Pistis Sophia, whoever he may have been, was well acquainted 
with the Ophite and Valentinian theology, and that he con- 
tinued it with modifications of his own after the innovating 
habit current among the Gnostics and noticed by Tertullian. 

In the cosmology of the Pistis Sophia, again, the preference 
given to Valentinian rather than to the older Ophitic views 
is clearly marked. The cause of the descent of the light into 

and Christ, and after his Father Logos, and Pan, because He is from 
alL" Compare with these the words of Colossians ii. 9 : on eV avrq 
Karate? irav TO 7r\ijpG>fLa TTJs &(QT7}Tos (rcofiaTiKoiij. "For in him dwelleth 
all the fulness of the Godhead bodily." 

1 That the Valentinians considered the Dodecad (and a fortiori the Decad) 
as having a collective entity, and as it were a corporate existence, seems 
plain from what Hippolytus says in narrating the opinions of Marcus : 
ravra yap 8d>deK.a fo>&a (fiaveparaTa rrjv rov y A.vQpa>7rov KCU Trjv *J&K.K\rj<rias 
6vya.Tfpa da>$cKa8a diroa-KLafeLv \eyovcn. " For they say that these 12 signs 
of the Zodiac most clearly shadow forth the Dodecad who is the daughter 
of Anthropos and Ecclesia " (Hipp. op. cit. Bk VL c. 54, p. 329, Cruice). 
And again (Zoc. cit. p. 331, Cruice) : ert /wjv /cat ryv yjjv els 8a>Ka /cXt/xara 
diflpfja-dai <f>d<TKOVTS, xa$* Iv e/caerrov /cXt^ta, ova \iiav 8vz>a/uv < TOV 
ovpav&v /caret KaBcrov virodcxoficvijv, jcal opoovcria riKTOvcrav reuva rfj Kara- 
TrefMiroixTrj Kara rfjv aTroppoiav ^vvdfjiei^ TVTTOV elvai r^r av& 5o>6eKa5os. " These 
are also they who assert that the earth is divided into twelve climates, and 
receives in each climate one special power from the heavens and produces 
children resembling the power thus sent down by emanation, being thus a 
type of the Dodecad above." The doctrine of correspondences or, as it 
was called m ttbe Middle Ages, of " signatures " is here most clearly stated. 
In all tins the Valentinian teaching was doubtless under the influence of the 
ancient Egyptian ideas as to the paut neteru or " company of the gods," 
as to which see Maspero's essay Sur L'Enndade quoted above. 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 161 

matter in the first instance is no accident as with the Ophites, 
but is part of the large scheme for the evolution or, as the 
author calls it, the " emanation " of the universe which was 
devised and watched over in its smallest details by the First 
Mystery 1 . Whether the author accepted the wild story 
attributed to Valentinus by Irenaeus concerning the Fall of 
Sophia and her Ectroma, it is impossible to say, because, as 
we have seen, he omits all detailed description of the way in 
which the two higher worlds which we have called the heavens 
of the Ineffable One and the world of the First Mystery came 
into being 2 . But it is plain that both must have been made 
by or rather through Jesus, because it is stated in the mysterious 
five words written on the vesture of Jesus that it is through 
the First Mystery that all things exist, and that it was from 
him that all the emanations flowed forth 3 . As the Pistis 
Sophia also says that Jesus is Himself the First Mystery, 
this corresponds to the opening words of St John's Gospel, 
that " by Him all things were made 4 ." Hence the author of 

1 It is said (p. 9, Copt.) that it is by him that the universe was created 
and that it is he who causes the sun to rise. 

2 As has before been said, this is attempted in one of the documents of 
the Bruce Papyrus. See pp. 191, 192 infra. La the present state of the text 
this attempt is only difficultly intelligible, and is doubtless both later in date 
than and the work of an author inferior to that of the Pistis Sophia. 

3 p. 16, Copt. Yet the First Mystery is not the creator of Matter 
which is evil, because Matter does not really exist. See Bruce Papyrus 
(Amelineau, p. 126) and n. 2, p. 190 infra. 

4 As mentioned in the Scottish Review article referred to in n. l r p. 135 
supra, there is no passage but one in the Pistis Sophia which affords any 
colour for supposing that the author was acquainted with St John's Gospel 
All the quotations set forth by Harnack in his treatise tlber das gnostische 
Buch Pistis -Sophia, Leipzig, 1891, p. 27, on which he relies to prove the 
converse of this proposition, turn out on analysis to appear also in one or 
other of the Synoptics, from which the author may well have taken them. 
The single exception is this (Pistis SopMa, p. 11, Copt.), "Wherefore I 
said unto you from the beginning, Ye are not from the Cosmos ; I likewise 
am not from it " ; John xvii. 14 : " (0 Father) I have given them thy word ; 
and the world hath hated them, because they are not of the world, even as 
I am not of the world." The parallel does not seem so close as to make 
it certain that one document is copying from the other. Both may very 
possibly be taken from some collection of Logia now lost, but at one 

L. n. 11 

162 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

the Pistis Sophia, if confronted with the story of the Ectroma, 
would doubtless have replied that this was merely a myth 
designed to teach the danger for the uninstructed of acting 
on one's own initiative instead of waiting for the commands 
of God, and that in his book he had told the same story in 
a slightly different way. This seems to be the only con- 
struction to be placed on the trials of Pistis Sophia herself, 
since her desire for light seems not to have been looked upon 
as in itself sinful, and the real cause of her downfall was the 
mistaking the light of Jaldabaoth for that of the Treasure-house. 
But her descent into Chaos, unlike the Fall of her prototype, 
apparently had nothing to do with the creation of the universe 
and its inhabitants, which in the Pistis Sophia seems to 
have taken place before the story opens. If they were sup- 
posed by the author to have originated in the passions of Sophia 
Without, as Hippolytus tells us Valentinus taught 1 , they 
were none the less the direct work of Jesus, and the statement 
in Hippolytus, that in the Valentinian teaching Jesus made 
out of the supplication of Sophia Without a path of repentance, 
finds a sort of echo in the Pistis Sophia, where it is the 
" Metanoiae " or hymns of penitence, many times repeated 
of Pistis Sophia, her antitype or copy, which bring Jesus to 
her succour. A further parallel may be found in Hippolytus* 
other statement from Valentinus that Jesus gave this " suppli- 
cation " power over the psychic substance which is called the 
Demiurge 2 . In the Pistis Sophia, the heroine defeats the 
Authades with the assistance of Jesus ; and there does not 
seem much doubt that Pistis Sophia is eventually to receive 
her adversary the Authades 5 place, an event which is fore- 
shadowed by the quotation of the text " His bishopric let 
another take" in one of her penitential psalms 3 . It would 

time current in Alexandrian circles ; or from the Gospel of the Egyptians,. 
from which the Pistis Sophia afterwards quotes. 

1 See Chap. IX, p. 107 supra. 

2 See last note. The Authades or Proud God of the Pistis Sophia seems 
to have all the characteristics with which Valentinus endows his Demiurge. 

3 So Pistis Sophia sings in her second hymn of praise after her deliverance 
from Chaos (p. 160, Copt.) " I am become pure light," which she certainly 
was not before that event. Jesus also promises her later (p. 168, Copt-} 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 163 

also appear that Adamas, tne wicked king of the Twelve Aeons, 
may be the Adversary or Diabolos described by the Valen- 
tinians 1 as the cosmocrator or ruler of this world, his rule 
being exercised in the Pistis Sophia through his servants, the 
Archons of " Heimarmene and the Sphere." The epithet of 
Adamas or aBa^ao-ros given in classical literature to Hades 
as the Lord of Hell would seem appropriate enough in his 
case. This would only leave Beelzebub, prince of the 
demons, unaccounted for ; but the author does not here give 
any detailed description of Chaos which may be supposed to 
be his seat. Although the omission was, as we shall see, 
amply repaired in other documents put forth by the sect, it 
may be here explained by the conviction of the nearness of 
the Parusia or Second Advent which marks the Pistis Sophia?* 
On the fulfilment of this hope, the Cosmos was, as we are 
informed, to be cc caught up," and all matter to be destroyed 3 . 
What need then to elaborate the description of its most 
malignant ministers 1 

The joys of the elect in the world to come, on the contrary, 
receive the fullest treatment. In the " completion of the Aeon, 
when the number of the assembly of perfect souls is made 

that when the three times are fulfilled and the Aufhades is again wroth with 
her and tries to stir up Jaldabaoth and Adamas against her "I will take 
away their powers from them and give them to thee." That this promise 
was supposed to he fulfilled seems evident from the low positions which 
Jaldabaoth and Adamas occupy in the Mepos- revx&v S&rTjpos, while Pistis 
Sophia is said to furnish the " power " for the planet Venus. 

1 See Chap* IX, p. 108 and n. 1 supra. 

2 All the revelations in the Pistis Sophia are in fact made in anticipa- 
tion of the time " when the universe shall "be caught up," and the disciples 
be set to reign with Jesus in the Last Parastates. Of. especially pp. 193- 
206 Copt. 

3 The idea may not have been peculiar to Valentinus and his followers. 
So in the Ascensio Isaiae (x. 8-13} the " Most High the Father of my 
Lord " says to " my Lord Christ who win be called Jesus " : *' And none, 
of the angels of that world shall know that thou art Lord with Me of the 
seven heavens and of their angels. And they shall not know that Thou art 
with Me till with a loud voice I have called to the heavens, and their angels, 
and their lights, even unto the sixth heaven, in order that you may judge 
and destroy the princes and angels and gods of that world, and the world 
that is dominated by them." Charles, Ascension oj Isaiah, pp. 70-71. 


164 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

up 1 , 5 ' or in otter words when all pneumatic or spiritual men 
have laid aside their material bodies, they will ascend through 
all the firmaments and places of the lesser powers until they 
come to the last Parastates, where they are to reign with 
Jesus over all the worlds below it 2 . This is the place from 
which the power, which the Great Light, the legate of the 
Ineffable One, took from the Eirst Precept and passed into 
the Kerasmos or Confusion, originated ; and it was this world, 
or rather its ruler, who arranged Jeu and the other Powers 
of the Right Hand in their Places and thus set going the whole 
machinery of salvation. Its " light " or glory is said to be 
so tremendous that it can be compared to nothing in this 
world, and here Jesus will reign with the disciples for 1000 
" years of light " which are equal to 365,000 of our years 3 . 
Here the thrones of the twelve " disciples " (padyrai) will 
depend on His 4 , " but Mary Magdalene and John the Virgin 
shall be higher than all the disciples 5 .". In the midst of these 
beatitudes they will apparently receive further instruction or 
further mysteries, the effect of which will be that they will 
at the conclusion of the Millennium be united with Jesus in 
so close a union that, as it is expressly said, they will become 
one with Him, and finally they will become members of the 
Godhead and, as it were, " the last limb of the Ineffable One 6 ." 
In the meantime they will be at liberty to visit any of the 
worlds below them. All those who have received lesser 
mysteries, that is to say, who have received a lesser degree 
of instruction and have not become wholly pneumatic or 

1 p. 194, Copt. 

2 p. 230, Copt. 

3 On the belief in the Millennium in the primitive Church, see Dollinger, 
JPirst Age of Christianity and the Church, Eng. ed. 1906, pp. 119, 123 and 
268 and Ffoulkes, s.v. Chiliasts, in Diet. Christian Biog. 

4 p. 230, Copt. Cf. Luke xxii. 29, 30. 

5 p. 231, Copt. " disciples " not apostles. So the Manichaeans made 
Manes to be attended by twelve disciples. See Chap. XIII infra. 

6 So Jesus says (p. 230, Copt.) of "the man who receives and accom- 
plishes the Mystery of the Ineffable One " ; " he is a man in the Cosmos, 
but he wiH reign with me in my kingdom ; he is a man in the Cosmos, but 
he is a king in the light ; he is a man in the Cosmos, but he is not of the 
Cosmos, and verily I say unto you, that man is I, and I am that man." 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 165 

spiritual will after death in this world go to the heaven of 
which they have received the mystery, or, in cases where 
their instruction has only just begun, be brought before the 
Virgin of Light, who will cause their souls to be sent back to 
earth in "righteous" bodies, which will of themselves seek after 
the mysteries, and, having obtained them, will, if time be 
allowed, achieve a more or less perfect salvation. Here, 
again, we meet with a close resemblance to the system of 
those later Ophites who possessed the diagram described by 
Origen ; for Jesus tells His disciples that those who have only 
taken these lower mysteries will have to exhibit a seal or token 
(o-vnfto\ov) and to make an " announcement " (aTrofyao-is) 
and a defence (aVoTuxy/a) in the different regions through 
which they pass after death 1 . No such requirements, He 
says, will be made from those who have received the higher 
mysteries, whose souls on leaving the body will become great 
streams of light, which will pass through all the lower places 
" during the time that a man can shoot an arrow," the powers 
therein falling back terror-stricken from its light until the 
soul arrives at its appointed place. As, therefore, these seals and 
announcements and defences will be of no use to the disciples, 
the Jesus of the Pistis Sophia declares that He will not describe 
them in detail, they having been already set out in " the two 
great Books of JeuV 

What now are these " mysteries " which have so tremendous 
an effect on their recipient as actually to unite him with the 
Deity after death ? The Greek word fj,v<mjpiov, which is that 
used in the Coptic MS.', does not seem to mean etymologically 
more than a secret, in which sense it was applied to the cere- 
monies or secret dramas exhibited, as has been said, at Eleusis 
and elsewhere, and later, to the Christian Eucharist 3 . In the 
early part of the Pistis Sophia it is the word used to denote 
the First Mystery or first and greatest emanation of God, 
who is withdrawn from human contemplation and,' as it were, 
concealed behind a veil impenetrable by the senses of man. 

1 p. 246, Copt. 

2 See last note and n. 5, p. 147 supra. 

3 Hatch, op. tit. p. 302 and note. 

166 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

But in the part of the book with which we are now dealing 
it seems to refer not to hidden persons, but to secret things. 
These things seem to fall into two categories, one of which 
is spoken of as the Mystery of the Ineffable One, and the other 
as the Mysteries of the First Mystery. The Mystery of the 
Ineffable One is said to be one, but, with the provoking 
arithmetic peculiar to the book, it is immediately added that 
it " makes " three mysteries and also another five, while it 
is still one 1 . The Mysteries of the First Mystery on the other 
hand are said to be twelve in number, and these figures may 
possibly cover some allusion to the Ogdoad and the Dodecad 
of Valentinus 2 . It is also fairly clear that each of these Twelve 
Mysteries of the First Mystery must be some kind of ceremony, 
and a ceremony which can be performed without much pre- 

1 pp. 236, 237, Copt. 

2 Loc. cit. Or they may cover a kind of allegory, as we might say 
that Agape or Love makes Faith, Hope, and Charity. But I believe it 
to "be more likely that the " 12 mysteries " are letters in a word. So in 
the Mepos reir^a>z/ Scor^Jpos- it is said of the " Dragon of the Outer Darkness," 
which is in fact the worst of all the hells described in that book : " And 
the Dragon of the Outer Darkness hath twelve true (av6evrrj) names 
which are in his gates, a name according to each gate of the torture- 
chambers. And these names differ one from the other, but they belong to 
each of the twelve, so that he who saith one name, saith all the names. 
And these I will tell you in the Emanation of the Universe " (p. 323, 
Copt.). If this he thought too trivial an explanation, Irenaeus tells us that 
the 18 Eons remaining after deducting the Decad or Dodecad (as the case 
may be) from the rest of the Pleroma were, according to the Valentinians, 
signified by the two first letters of the name of Jesus : aXXa icai dia TG>V 
TrporjyovfJLev&v TOV ovofiaros avrov $vo ypa^uara>i>j TOV re iaira K.CLL TOV J^ra, TOVS 
dfKaofcra> Atcoi/as evmjfjLtos pyvvecrdcu,, Irenaeus, Bk I. c. 1, 5, p. 26, Harvey. 
Equally absurd according to modern ideas are the words of the Epistle 
of Barnabas (c. x., pp. 23, 24, Hilgenfeld), where after quoting a verse in 
Genesis about Abraham circumcising 318 of his slaves (cf. Gen. xiv. 14), 
the author says "What then is the knowledge (yv marts) given therein? 
Learn that the 18 were first, and then after a pause, he says 300. (In) 
the 18, 1=10, H=8, thou hast Jesus ("Irjcrovv). And because the Cross 

was meant to have grace in the T, he says also 300. He expresses there- 
fore Jesus' by two letters and the Cross by one. He knows who has placed 
in us the ungrafted gift of teaching. None has learned from me a more 
genuine word. But I know that ye are worthy." 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 167 

paration or many participants. This we may deduce from 
the following description of the merits of one of them : 

" For the second mystery of the First Mystery, if it is duly accom- 
plished in all its forms, and the man who accomplishes it shall speak 
the mystery over the head of a man on the point of going forth from 
the body, so that he throws it into his two ears : even when the 
man who is going forth from the body shall have received it aforetime, 
and is a partaker of the word of Truth 1 , verily, I say unto you 
that when that man shall go forth from the body of matter, his 
soul will make a great flash of light, and wiH pass through every 
Place until it come into the kingdom of that mystery. 

" But and if that man has not [aforetime] received that mystery, 
and is not a partaker of the word of Truth, verily I say unto you 
that man when he shall go forth from the body shall not be judged 
in any Place whatever, nor shall he be tormented in any Place 
whatever, and no fire shall touch him on account of that great 
mystery of the Ineffable One which is in him ; and all shall make 
haste to pass him from one hand to the other, and to guide him 
into every Place and every order, until they shall lead him before 
the Virgin of Light, all the Places being filled with fear before the 
sign of the mystery of the kingdom of that Ineffable One which 
shall be with him. 

" And the Virgin of Light shall wonder and she shall try him, 
but he will not be led towards the light until he shall have accom- 
plished all the service of the light of that mystery, that is to say, 
tte purifications of the renunciation of the world and all the matter 
that is therein 2 . But the Virgin of Light shall seal that soul with 
1 " The True Word " or the Word of the Place of Truth. The latter 
expression is constantly used in other parts of the hook, and seems to refer 
to the x>PW a or " receptacle," that is the heaven, of the Aeon 'AA^uz, 
that is the Decad. Cf. especially the T&cpos revx&v Sarntpos (pp. 377, 
378, Copt.), where it is said that certain baptisms aawl a " spiritual chrism " 
will lead the souls of the disciples " into the Places Of Truth and Goodness, 
to the Place of the Holy of all Holies, to the Place in which there is neither 
female, nor male, nor shape in that Place, but t&ere is Light, everlasting, 

2 These dirarfypara are set out in detail in the Mepo? revxv 2*>ri?po? 
(pp. 256 *#. Copt.), where the disciples are ordered to " preach to the whole 

wor ld renounce (feoiwwc) the whole world and all the matter 

which is therein, and all its cares and aH its sins, and ina word all its con- 
versation (tyuXau) which is therein, that ye may be worthy of the 

168 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

the excellent seal which is this**** 1 , and she shall have it cast in 
the same month in which it went forth from the body of matter 
into a righteous body which will find the God of Truth and the 
excellent mysteries in order that it may receive them by inheritance 
and also the light for eternity. Which is the gift of the second 
mystery of the First Mystery of that Inefiable One 2 ." 

The only ceremony to which such grace as is here set forth 
was likely to be attributed by any Christian in the early age 
of the Church was that of Baptism. It was called by writers 
like Gregory of Nazianza and Chrysostom a pvcrrrjpiov* ; 
while we hear as early as St Paul's time of " those who are 
baptized over [or on behalf of] the dead " (^aim^o^voi vTrep 
T&V ve/cpcov)*, the theory being, according to Dollinger, that 
those who had wished during their lives to receive baptism 
but had not done so, could thus obtain the benefit of the 
prayers of the Church, which could not be offered for an un- 
baptized person 5 . So much was this the case with some sects, 
that it was an offence charged by writers like Tertullian against 
the Valentinians that they were in the habit of delaying baptism 
as long as possible and even of putting it off till they were 
about to die 6 , as in the case in the text. Baptism, too, was 

mysteries of the Light, that ye may be preserved from all the punish- 
ments which are in the judgments " and so on. It should be noted that 
these are only required of the psychics or animal men. 

1 No doubt in the Greek original the actual seal was here figured. 
For examples, see the Bruce Papyrus, passim. The idea is typically 
Egyptian. As M. Maspero says in his essay on "La Table d'Offrandes," 
E.H.E. t. xxxv. No. 3 (1897), p. 825 : no spell was in the view of the ancient 
"Egyptians efficacious unless accompanied by a talisman or amulet which 
acted as a material support to it, as the body to the souL 

2 p. 238, Copt. 

3 Hatch, o$. vit. p. 296, n. 1, for references. 

4 1 Cor. xv. 29. The practice of " baptizing for the dead," as the A.V. 
has it, evidently continued into Tertullian's time. See Tertull. de Reswr- 
rectione Carnis, c, XLVHL p. 530, Oehler. 

5 Dollinger, First Age, p. 327. 

6 Hatch, &p. tit. p. 307. The Emperor Constantine, who was baptized 
on his deathbed, was a case in point. The same story was told later about 
the Cathocs or Manichaeans of Langnedoc. The motive seems in all these 
cases to have been the same : as baptism washed away all sin, it was as 
well to delay it until the recipient could sin no more. 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 169 

spoken of in sub- Apostolic times as the " seal " (cr^pa^?) 1 , or 
impress, which may be that which the soul has to exhibit, 
both in the Ophite system and in that of the Pistis Sophia, 
to the rulers of the next world. In any event, the rite was 
looked upon by Catholic and heretic alike as an initiation or 
commencement of the process by which man was united with 
Christ. The other eleven " mysteries of the First Mystery " 
are not specifically described in the Pistis Sophia ; but it is 
said that the receiving of any one of them will free its re- 
cipient's soul from all necessity to show seals or defences to 
the lesser powers and will exalt him after his death to the 
rank of a king in the kingdom of light, although it will not 
make him equal to those who have received the mystery of 
the Ineffable One 2 . It therefore seems probable that these 
" twelve mysteries of the First Mystery " all refer to the rite 
of baptism, and are called twelve instead of one only to accord 
with some trifling juggling with words and letters such as was 
common with the followers of Valentinus 3 . That baptism was 
held in the sub-Apostolic age to be, in the words of Dollinger, 
" not a mere sign, pledge, or symbol of grace, but an actual 
communication of it wrought by the risen and glorified Christ 
on the men He would convert and sanctify, and a bond to 
unite the body of the Church with its Head 4 ," will perhaps 
be admitted. According to the same author, St Paul teaches 
that " by Baptism man is incorporated with Christ, and puts 
on Christ, so that the sacramental washing does away with 
all natural distinctions or race; Greek and Jew, slave and 
free, men and women, are one in Christ, members of His body, 
children of God and of the seed of Abraham 5 ." He tells us 
also that the same Apostle " not only divides man into body 
and spirit, but distinguishes in the bodily nature, the gross, 
visible, bodily frame, and a hidden, inner, " spiritual " body 
not subject to limits of space or cognizable by the senses ; 

1 Hatch, op. cit. p. 295 and note, far references. 

2 p. 236, Copt. 

3 See n. 2, p. 166 swpra. 

4 Dollinger, First Age, pp. 234, 235. 

5 Ibid. p. 235. Bom. vi 4 ; GaL iiL 27, 29, are quoted in support. 


170 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

this last, which shall hereafter be raised, is alone fit for and 
capable of organic union with the glorified body of Christ, 
of substantial incorporation with it 1 ." If Dollinger in the 
xixth century could thus interpret St Paul's words, is it ex- 
traordinary that the author of the Pistis Sophia should put the 
same construction on similar statements some sixteen centuries 
earlier ? So the late Dr Hatch, writing of baptism in this 
connection, says : " The expressions which the more literary 
ages have tended to construe metaphorically were taken 
literally. It was a real washing away of sins ; it was a real 
birth into a new life ; it was a real adoption into a divine 

If this be so, it seems to follow that the Mystery of the 
Ineffable One must be the other and the greatest of the 
Christian sacraments. Jesus tells His disciples that it is the 
" One and unique word," and that the soul of one who has 
received it " after going forth from the body of matter of the 
Archons " will become " a great flood of light " and will fly 
into the height, no power being able to restrain it, nor even 
to know whither it goes. He continues : 

" It shall pass through all the Places of the Archons and all the 
Places of the emanations of light, nor shall it make any announce- 
ment nor defence nor give in any symbol ; for no Power of the 
Archons nor of the emanations of light can draw nigh to that soul. 
But all the Places of the Archons and of the emanations of light 
shall sing praises, being filled with fear at the fiood of light which 
clothes that soul, until it shall have passed through them all, and 
have come into the Place of the inheritance of the mystery which 
it has received, which is the mystery of the sole Ineffable One, and 
shall have become united with his members 3 ." 

He goes on to explain that the recipient of this mystery shall 
be higher than angels, archangels, and than even all the Powers 
of the Treasure-house of Light and those which are below it : 

* lUoi. p. 235. Rom. vii. 22 ; 1 Cor. vi. 14 ; Epk iiL 16 and v. 30 
are quoted in support 

2 Hatch, op. tit. p. 342. 

3 p. 228, Copt. 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 171 

" He is a man in the Cosmos ; but he is a king in the light. He 
is a man in the Cosmos, but he is not of the Cosmos, and verily 
I say unto you, that man is myself and I am that man. 

" And, in the dissolution of the Cosmos, when the universe shall 

be caught up, and when the number of perfect souls shall be caught 

up, and when I am become Mng in the middle of the last Parastates, 

and when I am king over all the emanations of light, and over the 

Seven Amen, and the Five Trees, and the Three Amen, and the 

Nine Guards, and over the Boy of a Boy, that is to say the Twin 

Saviours, and when I am king over the Twelve Saviours and all 

the numbers of perfect souls who have received the mystery of light, 

then all the men who have received the mystery of that Ineffable 

One shall be kings with me, and shall sit on my right hand and 

on my left in my kingdom. "Verily I say unto you, Those men are 

I and I am those men. Wherefore I said unto you aforetime : 

You shall sit upon thrones on my right hand and on my left in my 

kingdom and shall reign with me. "Wherefore I have not spared 

myself, nor have I been ashamed to call you my brethren and my 

companions, seeing that you will be fellow-kings with me in my 

kingdom. These things, therefore, I said unto you, knowing that 

I should give unto you the mystery of that Ineffable One, and that 

mystery is I and I am that mystery 1 ." 

That this is the supreme revelation up to which the author 
of the Pislis Sophia has been leading all through the book, 
there can hardly be any doubt. Its position shortly before 
the close of the book 2 , the rhapsodic and almost rhythmical 
phrases with which the approach to it is obscured rather than 
guarded, and the way in which directly the revelation is made, 
the author falls off into merely pastoral matters relating to 
the lesser mysteries, all show that the author has here reached 
his climax. But does this revelation mean anything else than 
that Jesus is Himself the victim which is to be received in the 
Sacrament or /ivtrryptov of the Altar ? That the Christians of 
the first centuries really thought that in the Eucharist they 
united themselves to Christ by receiving His Body and Blood 
there can be no question, and the dogma can have come as 
no novelty to those who, like the Ophites, had combined with 

1 pp. 230, 231, Copt. 

2 The Pistis SopUa proper comes to an end twenty pages later. 

172 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

Christianity the ideas which we have seen current among the 
Orphics as to the sacramental efficacy of the homophagous 
feast and the eating of the quivering flesh of the sacrifice 
which represented Dionysos. Dollinger gives the views of 
the primitive Church, concisely when he says it is " because 
we all eat of one Eucharistic bread, and so receive the Lord's 
body, that we all become one body, or as St Paul says, we 
become members of His body, of His flesh, and of His bones." 
" We are nourished by communion," he continues, " with 
the substance of His flesh and blood, and so bound to the 
unity of His body, the Church ; and thus what was begun in 
Baptism is continued and perfected in the Eucharist 1 ." Thus, 
Justin Martyr, who lived in the reign of Antoninus Pius, says 
" the food which is blessed by the prayer of His word, and 
from which our blood and flesh by transmutation are nourished, 
is the flesh and blood of that Jesus who was made flesh 2 ." 
That the same idea was realized by the heretics may be gathered 
from what has been said above as to the wonder-working 
celebration of the Eucharist by Marcus, when the wine was 
made to change visibly into blood before the eyes of the 
recipient 3 . 

It is plain also that the Pistis Sophia, does not look upon 
this perfect union as within the reach of all. Basilides, the first 
of the Egyptian Gnostics, had said that not one in a thousand 
or two in ten thousand were fit to be admitted to the higher 
mysteries, and the same phrase is repeated by Jesus Himself in 
one of the later documents of the MS. of which the Pistis Sophia 
forms part 4 . Those who were worthy of admission to the 

1 DoUinger, First Age, p. 239. 1 Cor. x. 16 sqq. ; Eph. v. 30, quoted in 

2 Justin Martyr was probably born 114, and martyred 165 A.D. For 
the passage quoted in text, see his First Apology, c. LXVI., where he mentions 
among other things that the devils set on the worshippers of Mithras to 
imitate the Christian Eucharist by celebrating a ceremony with bread and 
a cup of water. 

3 Hatch, op. Git. p. 308. This visible change of the contents of the cup 
of water to the semblance of blood is described in the Mepos T&VX V Scorijpos 
( p. 377, Copt. ), and with more detail in the Bruce Papyrus. Of * p. 183 infra. 

* Mepos Tevx&v Sorijpo?, p. 354, Copt. 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 173 

mysteries of the Ineffable One and of the First Mystery were 

the pneumatics or spiritual men predestined to them from 

before their birth. For the others, the psychic or animal 

men, there were the mysteries " of the light, 3 ' which are, so 

to speak, the first step on the ladder of salvation 1 . These 

are nowhere described in the Pistis Sophia, or first document 

of the book, the hearer being therein always referred for their 

details to the two great Books of Jeu mentioned above, " which 

Enoch wrote when I (i.e. Jesus) spoke with him from the tree 

of knowledge and from the tree of life, which were in the Para- 

dise of Adam 2 ." It is here expressly said that Jesus' own 

disciples have no need of them ; but their effect is described 

as purifying the body of matter, and transforming their 

recipient into " light" of exceeding purity. On the death 

of one who has taken them all, his soul traverses the different 

heavens repeating the passwords, giving in the defences, and 

exhibiting the symbols peculiar to each mystery until it reaches 

the abode assigned to its particular degree of spiritual illumina- 

tion. These mysteries of the light are open to the whole world 

and there is some reason for thinking they are the sacraments 

of the Catholic Church, the members of which body, Irenaeus 

says, the cc heretics " (Qy the Valentinians ?) held not to be saved 

but to be only capable of salvation 3 . If the recipient of these 


Whether the author of the Pistis Sophia, really intended to describe 
them may be doubted : but it is to be noted that the sacraments which 
Jesus is represented as celebrating in the Mepos rcvx&v Samjpo? can 
hardly be they, although Jesus calls them in one plaee (p. 374, Copt.}, 
" the mysteries of the light which remit sins, which themselves are appel- 
lations and names of light." These are administered to the twelve disciples 
without distinction, and it Is evident that the author of these books is quite 
unacquainted with any division into pneumatic and psychic, and knows 
nothing of the higher mysteries called in the Pistis Sophia proper " the 
mysteries of the Ineffable One " and " the mysteries of the First Mystery." 
We should get over many difficulties if we supposed the two later books to 
be Marcosian in origin, but in any event they are later than the Pistis 

2 p. 246, Copt. So in the Manichaean text described in Chapter XIII, 
Jesus is Himself called " the Tree of Knowledge." 

3 So Irenaeus, Bk I. c. 1, 11, pp. 53, 54, Harvey : *Eira&vtoi<rm' yap 

01 \lsvxt><o\ avQpairoL, ol 6V Zpyav KCU irtarf&s 

174 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

lesser mysteries die before complete initiation, he has to undergo 
a long and painful series of reincarnations, his soul being sent 
back into the Sphere of Destiny and eventually into this world 
by the Virgin of Light, who will, however, take care that it 
is placed in a " righteous " body which shall strive after the 
mysteries until it finds them. But the way to these lower 
mysteries is the complete renunciation of this world. Man 
naturally and normally is entirely hylic or material, being, 
as Jesus tells His disciples in the Pistis Sophia, " the very dregs 
of the Treasure-house, of the Places of those on the Right 
Hand, in the Middle, and on the Left Hand, and the dregs of 
the Unseen Ones and of the Archons, and, in a word, the dregs 
of them all 1 . 55 Hence it is only by the cleansing grace of the 
mysteries that he can hope to escape the fate which is coming 
upon the Kerasmos, and to obtain these, he must avoid further 

" Wherefore preach you to the whole race of men, saying : Slacken 
not day and night until ye find the cleansing mysteries. Say unto 
them : Renounce the world and all the matter that is therein ; 
for whoso buys and sells in the world and eats and drinks in its 
matter, and lives in all its cares and all its conversations, takes 
unto himself other matter as well as his own matter "Where- 
fore I said unto you aforetime : Renounce the whole world and all 
the matter that is therein lest ye add other matter to your own 

matter. Wherefore preach ye to the whole race of men cease 

not to seek day and night and stay not your hand until ye find 
the cleansing mysteries which will cleanse you so as to make you 

KGU prj rrjv reXe/ov yvaxrtv e^ovres" elvai $e rovrovs airb TTJS *'EKK\rfcrLas rjpa? 
\eyovcri' 16 /cat rjfjuv fj.ev avayK.cCiov flvai TTJV dyadrjv irpa^w dirofpaivovTcu' 
aXXcos yap ddvvaTov Q-<M>Qfjvai. AVTOVS- de /-IT) dia Trpa^ecos-, aXXa dia TO (f>v(rei 
TTvevfiariKOvs ti/at, Travr-Q re /cat TTCLVTCOS <rQ>6rjcrcr&aL Soyparifrvorw. " For 
the psychic (animal) men are taught psychic things, they being made 
safe by works and by mere faith, and not having perfect knowledge. 
And they say that we of the Church arc these people. Wherefore they 
declare that good deeds are necessary for us : for otherwise we could not 
be saved. But they decree that they themselves are entirely and in every 
thing saved, not by works, but because they are pneumatic (spiritual) 
by nature." 

1 p. 249, Copt. 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 175 

pure light,, that ye may go into the heights and inherit the light 
of my kingdom 1 ." 

We see, then, that the author of the Pistis Sophia really 
contemplated the formation of a Church within a Church, where 
a group of persons claiming for themselves special illumination 
should rule over the great body of the faithful, these last being 
voluntarily set apart from all communion with their fellows 2 . 
This was so close a parallel to what actually occurred in Egypt 
in the rvth century, when the whole male population was 
said with some exaggeration to have embraced the monastic 
life 3 , and submitted themselves to the rule of an ambitious 
and grasping episcopate, as to give us a valuable indication 
as to the authorship and date of the book. It may be said 
at the outset that the conception of the universe which appears- 
throughout is so thoroughly Egyptian that it must have been 
written for Egyptian readers, who alone could have been 
expected to understand it without instruction. The idea 
of the Supreme Being as an unfathomable abyss was, as has 
been said in Chapter II, a very old one in Egypt, where one of 
the oldest cosmogonies current made Nu or the sea of waters 
the origin of both gods and men 4 . So was the peculiar theory 
that the lesser gods were the limbs or members of the Supreme 5 . 
An Ogdoad 6 or assembly of eight gods arranged in syzygies or 

1 p. 250, Copt. It is to be observed that these ** cleansing mysteries ** 
will only admit their recipients to the light of the Kingdom of Jesus not to- 
that of the First Mystery or of the Ineffable One. 

2 As did perhaps the Maniehaeans afterwards. See J.JEt.A.jS. for 
January, 1913, and Chap. Xm infra. 

3 So Charles Kingsley in Hypatia* Gibbon, Decline and FaN^ voL iv. 
c. 60, n. 15, quotes a statement of Rufinus that there were nearly as many 
monks living in the deserts as citizens in the towns. 

4 Mallet, Le CuUe de Next & Safe, p* 200, paints out that the God 
Nu described in the 18th Chapter of the Book of the Dead is " the infinite 
abyss, the Bi>0or, the irarffp ayv&crrov of the Gnostics." So Maspero 
in Rev. Critique, 30 Sept. 1909, p. 13, who declares that the author of the 
Pistis Sophia, was influenced directly or indirectly by Osirian beliefs. 

5 Moret, Le verbe createwr et revelatew, p. 2S6, for references. 

6 Maspero, St. figyptoL t. n. p. 187 : " L'ogdoade est une conception 
hermopolitaine qui s'est repandue plus tard sur toute Tfigypte a cote de 
Fenneade d'Heliopolis. Les theologiens d'Hermopolis avaient adopt6 

176 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

couples was also well known in the time of the early dynasties, 
as was the Dodecad of twelve gods which Herodotus knew, and 
which M. Maspero refers on good evidence to the time of the 
Pyramid-Builders 1 . So was the view that men and other 
material things were made from the tears of the celestial 
powers 2 , a notion well known to Proclus the Neo-Platonist, 
who attributed it to the legendary Orpheus 3 . KTot less Egyptian 
perhaps in its origin exclusively Egyptian is the view that the 
knowledge of the places of the world after death and their rulers 
was indispensable to the happiness of the dead. " Whosoever," 
says M. Maspero in commenting upon some funerary texts of 
the Bamesside period ? "knows the names of these (gods) while 
still on earth and is acquainted with their places in Amenti, 
will arrive at his own place in the other world and will be in 
all the places reserved for those who are justified 4 ." The 
resemblance between the system of the Pistis Sophia and the 
doctrines of the Egyptian religion in the days of the Pharaohs 
has been pointed out in detail by the veteran Egyptologist 
the late Prof. Lieblein and has been approved by M. Maspero 5 . 
It extends to particular details as well as to general ideas, 
as we see from the ritual inscribed on the tombs at Thebes, 
where each " circle " or division of the next world is said to 

le concept de la neuvaine, settlement ils avaient amoindri les Knit dieux 
qui formaient le corps du dieu principal. Ils les avaient reduits a n'tre 
plus que des etres presque abstraits nommes d'apres la f emotion qu'on 
leur assignait, en agissant en masse sur 1'ordre et d'apres 1'impulsion du 
dieu chef. Leur enn6ade se composait done d'un dieu tout-puissant et 
d'une ogdoade." 

1 " Son origine (Pogdoade hermopolitaine subordonne a un corps 
monade) est fort ancienne : on trouye quelques-unes des divinites qui la 
composent mentionnees deja dans les textes des Pyr amides." Maspero, 
op. c&. t, n. p. 383. As he says later the actual number of gods in the 
Ennead or Ogdoad was a matter of indifference to the ancient Egyptian : 
" les dieux comptaient toujours pour neuf, quand meme ils etaient treize 
on quinze," ibid. p. 387. Cf. Aca61ineau, Gnost. ]g. pp. 294, 295. 

* Se n. 5, p. 175 swpra, and Maspero, " Hypogees Eoyaux," $t. figyptol. 
TL p. 130, n. 2. 

4 Maspearo, " Hypogees Boyaux," t, n. p. 121. 
6 Maspero* B&K OriL 30 Sept. 19(^ 9 p. 13. 

x] TJie Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 177 

have its own song and its own " mystery," an idea often met 
with in the Pistis Sophia' 1 -. Even the doctrine in the Pistis 
Sophia that the dead had to exhibit a " seal " as well as a 
" defence " to the guardians of the heavenly places is explained 
by the Egyptian theory that no spell was effective without 
an amulet, which acted as a kind of material support to it 2 . 
The greater part of the allusions in the Pistis Sophia are in 
fact unintelligible, save to those with some acquaintance 
with the religious beliefs of the Pharaonic Egyptians. 

At the same time it is evident that the MS. of the Pistis 
Sophia that has come down to us is not the original form of the 
book. All the scholars who have studied it are agreed that the 
Coptic version has been made from a G-reek original by a scribe 
who had no very profound acquaintance with the first-named 
tongue 3 . This appears not only from the frequent appearance 
in it of Greek words following Coptic ones of as nearly as possible 
the same meaning ; but from the fact that the scribe here and 
there gives us others declined according to the rules not of 
Coptic but of Greek accidence. We must therefore look for 
an author who, though an Egyptian and acquainted with the 
native Egyptian religion, would naturally have written in 
Greek ; and on the whole there is no one who fulfils these 
requirements so well as Yalentinus himself. The fact that 
the author never quotes from the Gospel according to St John 
indicates that it had not come to his knowledge ; for the opening 
chapter of St John's Gospel contains many expressions that 
could easily on the Gnostic system of interpretation be made 
to accord with the Valentinian theology, and is in fact so used 
by later writers of the same school as the author of the Pistis 
Sophia*. Now the first direct and acknowledged quotation 

1 Maspero, " Hypog6es Royaux," t. n. p. 118. OE. Pistis Sophia, p. 84, 
Copt, and elsewhere. 

2 Maspero, " La Table d'Offrandes," R.H.R. t. xxxv. (1897) p. 325. As 
has been said, in the Ascensio Isaiae, anyone passing from one heaven to 
another has to give a password, but not to exhibit a seal. 

3 Amelineau, Gno$t. $g. p. 1&6 ; Schmidt, K&ptisch-Gnostische Sckriften, 
Bd I. p. xiiL 

4 It is so used in the Exc&rpta Theodoti, and in the Papyrus Bruce. See 
p. 190, infra. 

L. ii. 12 

178 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

from St John's Gospel that we have is that made by Theophilus^ 
who was made bishop of Antioch in A.D. 170, and the generally 
received opinion is that this Gospel, whenever written, was 
not widely known long before this date 1 . The only founders 
of Gnostic sects of Egyptian birth prior to this were Basilides 
and Valentinus, and of these two, Valentinus is the more likely 
author, because he, unlike his predecessor, evidently taught 
for general edification, and possessed, as the Fathers agree, 
a numerically large following. We have, moreover, some 
reason for thinking that Valentinus actually did write a book 
with some such title as the Sophia. Tertullian, in his declama- 
tion against the Valentinians, quotes a sentence from " the 
Wisdom (Lat. Sophia) not of Valentinus but of Solomon 2 ." It 
has been suggested that he is here referring to some saying of 
the Valentinian aeon Sophia ; but no writings would in the 
nature of things be attributed to her, and, as M. Amelineau 
points out, it is more natural to think that he was here com- 
paring a book with a book 3 . This figure of rhetoric was a 
favourite one with Tertullian, for in his treatise De Came 
Christi we find him quoting in like manner the Psalms 
" not the Psalms of Valentinus, the apostate, heretic, and 
Platonist, but the Psalms of David 4 ." The fact that the 
story in the British Museum MS. is called Pistis Sophia instead 
of Sophia only need not hinder us from identifying this 
with the work presumably referred to by Tertullian, because 
this title is, as has been said, the work of another scribe 
than those who transcribed the original ; and Pistis Sophia 

1 Jean Reville 3 e Quatrilme^vangiU, Paris, 1901, p. 321. Mgr Duchesne, 
Early Christian Church, pp. 102, 192, says in effect that St John's Gospel 
appeared after the Apostle's death and was not accepted without opposi- 
tion. He thinks Tatian and Irenaeus the first writers who quoted from it 
with acknowledgement of its authorship. If we put the date of Tatian' s 
birth at 120 (see Diet. Christian Biog. s.h.n.) and allow a sufficient period for 
the initiation into heathen mysteries which he mentions, for his conversion 
and for his becoming a teacher, we do not get a much earlier date than 17<^ 
for his acceptance of the Fourth GospeL Irenaeus was, of course, later in 
date t&an Tatian. 

2 Tertullian, Adv. Valentinianos, c. 2. 

3 Am&iaeaa, QnosL Ma. p. ISO. 

4 TertuEian, de Came CTvrM, c. 20. 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 179 

is sometimes spoken of in the MS. itself as Sophia only 1 . More- 
over, there is some reason for thinking that certain of the 
Fathers and even their Pagan adversaries had seen and read 
the story of Pistis Sophia. The allusion quoted above from 
Origen to gates opening of their own accord seems to refer to 
one of its episodes, and Tertullian, in the treatise in which 
he says he is exposing the original tenets of the sect 2 , uses 
many expressions that he can hardly have borrowed from any 
other source. Thus, he speaks of Sophia " breaking away 
from her spouse 3 " which is the expression used by Pistis 
Sophia in her first Metanoia and is in no way applicable to the 
Valentinian Sophia of Irenaeus or Hippolytus. He again speaks 
of the same Sophia as being all but swallowed up and dissolved 
in "the substance" evidently of Chaos, which is the fate which 
Pistis Sophia anticipates for herself in the MS. Tertullian, 
like the Pistis Sophia, also assigns to the psychic substance 
the place of honour or right hand in the g^<m"-material world, 
while the hylic is relegated in both to the left hand 4 . The 
Paradise of Adam is said by him to be fixed by Valentinus 
" above the third heaven 5 " as it is in the Pistis Sophia, if, 
as we may suppose, the soul of the protoplast dwelt in the 
same place as that of Elijah. The name of Ecclesia or the 
Church is given not only to a particular aeon in the Pleroma, 
but also to the divine power breathed into man from a higher 
world in both Tertullian and the Pistis Sophia*, and, in the 
treatise De Carne Christi, Tertullian alludes contemptuously 
to an heretical doctrine that Christ possessed cc any new kind 
of flesh miraculously obtained from the stars 7 ," which seems 
to refer to the taking by Jesus in the opening of the Pistis 
Sophia of a body from " Barbelo " the goddess or Triple Power 

1 Kg. p. 47, Copt. OL also ibid, ppw 147, 170, 176. 

2 TertnlTiaan, adw. Y<d. c. v. 

3 Op. ott. c. 9. * Op. ciL c. 18, 
5 Op. c&t c. 20. 6 Op. tit. c. 25. 

7 Tertullian, de Came Christ, c. 9, Irenaens, Bk n. c. 7, 1, p. 270, 
Harvey, seems to have known both of Barbelo and of the Virgin of Light, 

since he speaks of corpora swswm> spiritalia et lucida, " spiritual and 

translucent bodies on high " casting a shadow below in quam Matrem suam 
descendisse dicunt " into which they allege their Mother descended." 


180 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

set over matter and inspiring the benefic planet Venus. For 
all which, reasons it seems probable that in the Pistis Sophia 
we have the translation of an authentic work by Valentinus. 
The Pistis Sophia, however, is not the only work in the 
British Museum MS. The first and second books of it, as 
they are called by the annotator, come to an end, rather abrupt 
but evidently intentional, on the 252nd page of the MS. There 
then appears the heading in the hand of the annotator " Part 
of the Texts of the Saviour 1 /' and on this follow two pages 
dealing with the " members " of the Ineffable One, as to which 
it is expressly said that only a partial revelation is made 2 . 
These seem to have slipped out of their proper place, and are 
followed by two discontinuous extracts from another treatise, 
the second of which is also headed by the annotator " Part 
of the Texts of the Saviour/' This second part, which we 
shall venture to take before the other, is evidently the intro- 
duction to or the commencement of a new treatise, fox it 
begins with the statement that " After they had crucified Our 
Lord Jesus He rose from the dead on the third day," and 
that His disciples gathered round Him, reminding Him that 
they had left all to follow Him 3 . Jesus " standing on the 
shore of the sea Ocean," then makes invocation to the "Father 
of every Fatherhood, boundless light," in a prayer composed 
of Egyptian and Hebrew words jumbled together after the 
fashion of the spells in the Magic Papyri 4 , He then shows 

1 OY Mepoc NTS H reyxoc M NCCOTHP, or (in Greek) Mepos r&rx&v 

2 " This I say to you in paradigm, and likeness and similitude, but not 
in truth of shape, nor have I revealed the word in truth," p. 253, Copt- 
So in the next page (p. 254, Copt.), Jesus says of the perfect initiate that 
" He also has found the words of the Mysteries, those which I have written 
to you according to similitude the same are the members of the Ineffable 
One." From Hia mention of "writing," one would imagine that th 
reference here is to documents such as the Bruce Papyrus which gives the 
pictures of "seals" together with cryptographicailly written words. 

s p. S57, Copt. This opening sentence could not have been written by 
one of the Valentinians of Hadrian's time, who, as has been said above* 
" did not choose to call Jesus, Lord," Irenaeus, Bk L c. 1, i. p. 12, Harvey, 

4 La the address of Jesus beginning " O my Father, Father of every 
Fatherhood, boundless light ** with which this part of the M. T* cr. opens, we 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 181 

the disciples the " disk of the sun " as a great dragon with 
his tail in his mouth drawn by four white horses and the disk 
of the moon like a ship drawn by two white steers 1 . The two 

can, with a little good will, identify nearly every word of the " galimatias * y 
which at first sight seems mere gibberish. Thus, the whole invocation reads: 
p, 6ep[t]vo^ 9 voyfyiQcp) fayoi/pTy, Trayovp^ 

ppaj3av y Bapva-^a-^av^ ^opOK.o6opa leov 
The seven vowels to which many mystical interpretations have been 
assigned, and which have even been taken for a primitive system of musical 
notation (C. E. Euelle, " Le Chant des Sept Voyelles Grecques," Rev. des 
$t. Grecques, Paris, 1889, t. n. p. 43, and pp. 393-395), probably express the 
sound to Greek ears of the Jewish pronunciation of Yahweh or Jehovah. 
The word lao we have before met with many times both as a name of 
Dionysos and otherwise, and is here written anagrammatically from the 
difficulty which the Greeks found in dealing with Semitic languages written 
the reverse way to their own. The word ^ivofep which follows and is also 
written as an anagram is evidently an attempt to transcribe in Greek letters 
the Egyptian words P, Shai, neter (P = Def . article, Shai = the Egyptian God 
of Fate whose name Revillout, Rev. SgyptoL Paris, 1892, pp. 29-38, thinks 
means "The Highest," and neter or nwter the determinative for " god "), 
the whole reading " Most High God." The words {ayovprj Trayovpij (better, 
TrarovpT)) are from the Hebrew roots -)3 "tfo and seem to be the " he that 
openeth and no man shutteth ; and shutteth and no man openeth " of 
Rev. iii. 7. Ne#ju.o/iaG>#, which is often found in the Magic Papyri, is remi- 
niscent of the Egyptian neb moat " Lord of Truth," the following v^iofjLa<&Q 
being probably a variant by a scribe who was uncertain of the orthography* 
Mapa^a^^a I can make nothing of, although as the phrase i/<$o/zac00 
fjiapaxax^a appears in the Magic Papyrus of Leyden generally called 
W (Leemans, Papyri Graeci, etc. t. n. p. 154) in a spell there said to be written 
by " Thphe the Hierogrammateus " for " Ochus the king," it is evidently 
intended for Egyptian, In the same spell appear the words ^apvfjiaxa-x 
frpoKodopa and daftappaftav which are evidently the same as those 
hi the M. T. o-., and of which I will only say that, while Mr King supposes 
opoKoBopa to mean " light-gatherer/' QajSappaftav is in the leaden tabula 
devotionis of Carthage (Molinier, " Imprecation gravee sur plomb," Jf em. 
de la Soc. Nat. des Antiquaires de France, serie VL t. vnr. Paris, 1897, 
pp. 212-216) described as rov Beov rev rrjs TraXivyweo-ias " the god of 
rebirth." The concluding words are of course merely " Yahweh of Hosts." 
1 The description of the moon-chariot drawn by two white oxen is 
found in Claudian's Proserpine. According to Oumont (Textes et Monu- 
ments relatifs awe Mysteres de Mitfara, 1. 1. p. 126 and note) it was not until 
Hadrian's time that this conception, which seems to have been Persian in 
origin, became fixed in the West. 

182 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

steering oars of this last are depicted as a male and a female 
dragon who takeaway the light from the rulers of the stars among 
whom they move. Jesus and His disciples are then translated 
to the place called the " Middle Way 1 .' 5 He there describes 
how the Archons of Adamas rebelled and persisted in engen- 
dering and bringing forth "rulers and archangels and angels and 
ministers and decans." We further hear, for the first time, 
that the Twelve Aeons, instead of being, as in the Pistis Sophia, 
all under the rule of Adamas, are divided into two classes, 
ene Jabraoth ruling over six of them and Sabaoth Adamas 
over the other six; that Jabraoth and his subjects repented 
and practised " the mysteries of the light," including, as we 
have seen, abstinence from generation 2 , whereupon they were 
taken up by Jeu to the light of the sun between the <c places 
of the middle and those of the left." " Sabaoth Adamas," 
on the other hand, with his subjects to the number of 1800, 
were bound to the sphere, 360 powers being set over them, 
the 360 being controlled by the five planets Saturn, Mars, 
Mercury, Venus, and Jupiter. Jesus then describes in great 
detail the different tortures in the Middle Way and two other 
hells called Chaos and Amenti, wherein the souls of un- 
initiated men who commit sins are tormented between their 
incarnations 3 , the final punishment being in the worst cases 

1 This '* Middle Way " has nothing to do with the TOTTOS or " place '* 
of the middle, where are set in the Pistis Sophia proper the powers who 
preside over incarnation. It is below the visible sphere (p. 364, Copt.) 
and is met with in Rabbinic lore. See Kohler, op. cit. p. 587. 

2 This division of the Twelve Aeons into two halves seems at first sight 
inconsistent with the description in the Pistis Sophia proper which always 
speaks of them as Twelve. Yet it is plain that the author of the Pistis 
Sophia knew the legend here given, as he makes John the Divine speak 
(p. 12, Copt.) of " the rulers who belong to the Aeon of Jabraoth " and had 
made peace with the mysteries of the light. These " rulers who repented " 
are again mentioned on p. 195, Copt. In the other part of the Mcpo? 
revx&v ^^rifpos (p. 356, Copt.), it is also said that the souls of Abraham, 
Isaac, and Jacob are to be placed in "the Place of Jabraoth and of all the 
rulers who repeated " until Jesus can take them with Him to the light. 
So the Papyrus Brtaee (Amelineau, p. 239). 

* There are seven pages missing between the descriptions of the tortures 
of the Middle Way and those of Amenti -and Chaos, the gap occurring at 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 183 

annihilation. He then affords His disciples a vision of "fire 
and water and wine and blood " which He declares He brought 
with Him on His Incarnation, and celebrates a sacrament 
which He calls " the baptism of the First Oblation/' but which 
seems to be a peculiar form of the Eucharist with invocations 
in the jargon alluded to above, and a thaumaturgic conversion 
of the wine used in it into water and vice versa 1 . There are 
several lacunae in this part of the MS., and the tortures for 
certain specified sins are differently given in different places, so 
that it is probable that with the Part of the Texts of the Saviour 
has here been mixed extracts from another document whose 
title has been lost 2 . 

The remaining document of the British Museum MS., 
being the third in order of place, was probably taken from 
the same book as that last described, and was placed out of 
its natural order to satisfy the pedantry of the scribes, the 
rule in such cases being that the longer document should always 
come first. Like its successor, it deals largely with the " punish- 
ments " of the souls who have not received the mysteries of 
the light, and introduces a new and still more terrible hell 
in the shape of the " Dragon of Outer Darkness " which it 
declare^ to be a vast dragon surrounding the world, having 
his tail in his mouth, and containing twelve chambers, wherein 
the souls of the uninitiated dead are tortured after their trans- 
migrations are ended until they reach the annihilation reserved 
for them at the last judgment 3 . There is also given here a 

P. 379, Copt. It is possible that what follows after this is not from the 
Mepoff revx&v Scor^pos- but an extract from yet another document. 

1 In the text of the M. r. a-, (p. 377, Copt.}, Jesus simply asks His f ather 
for a sign, and " the sign is made which Jesus had said." La the Papyrus 
Bruce where the same ceremony is described in almost identical words, it 
is said that the wine of the offering wass turned into water which leaped 
forth of the vase which contained it so as to serre for baptism. CL Ame- 
lineau, Onost. $g. p. 263. That Marcus the magician by juggling produced 
similar prodigies, see Irenaeus, Bk j. e. 7, n. pp. 116, 117, Harvey. 

2 The name of Jaldabaoth, which in the whole of the rest of the MS. is 
spelt T&AA&B&ooe, appears on p. 380 immediately after the la&una of seven 
pages asr&AT&JUooe, laltabaoth, which supports the theory of another author. 

3 This is also briefly mentioned in the part of the Mepos reux&v 
just described. See pp. 386, 9q$. 9 Copt. 

184 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

very curious account of man's invisible part, which is said 
to be made up of the " Power " infused into it by the Virgin 
of Light which returns to its giver after death 1 , and the Moira 
or Fate which it derives from the Sphere of Destiny and has as 
its sole function to lead the man it inhabits to the death he is 
predestined to die 2 . Then there is the Counterfeit of the Spirit, 
which is in effect a duplicate of the soul proper and is made 
out of the matter of the wicked Archons. This not only incites 
the soul to sin, but follows it about after death, denouncing to 
the powers set over the punishments the sins it has induced 
the soul to commit 3 . All these punishments, to describe which 
is evidently the purpose of all the extracts from the Texts 
of the Saviour here given, are escaped by those who have received 
the mysteries. 

The Texts of the Saviour therefore clearly belong to a later 
form of Gnosticism than the Pistis Sophia properly so called. 
The author's intention is evidently to frighten his readers 
with the fate reserved for those who do not accept the teaching 
of the sect. For this purpose the division of mankind into 
pneumatic, psychic, and hylic is ignored 4 , and this is especially 

1 This appears to contradict the Pistis Sophia proper, where it is said 
that the Virgin of Light gives the soul, and the Great lao the Good the 

2 Gf . the speech of the crocodile in the tale of the Predestined Prince : 
** Ah, moi, je suis ton destin qui te poursuit ; quoi que tu f asses, tu seras 
ramen6 sur mon chemin." Maspero, Contes Populaires de PlSgypte Ancienne, 
3rd ed. Paris, n. d. p. 175. 

3 Evidently the Egyptian ka or double. Cf. the *" Heart Amulet " 
described by Erman, Handbook of Egyptian Religion, pp. 142, 143, where 
the dead says to his heart : " Oh heart that I have from my mother ! 
Oh heart that belongs to my spirit, do not appear against me as witness, 
provide no opposition against me before the judges, do not contradict me 
before him who governs the balance, thou art my spirit that is in my 

body. " This seems to be a transcription of the 30th Chapter of the 

Book of the Dead, of which there are several variants, none of which however 
directly suggest that the heart is the accuser to be dreaded. See Budge, 
Book of the Dead, 1909, voL n. pp. 146-152. 

4 Thus the M. r. <r. says (p. 355, Copt.) "Por this I despoiled myself 
(i.e. laid aside my heavenly nature) to bring the mysteries into the Cosmos, 
for all are under [the yoke of] sin, and all lack the gifts of the mysteries. . . . 
Verily, verily I say unto you : until I came into the Cosmos, no soul entered 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 185 

plain in certain passages where the torments after death of 
those who follow " the doctrines of error " are set forth. Magic, 
which has been spoken of with horror in the Pistis Sophia, is 
here made use of in the celebration of the rites described, 
and the miraculous power of healing the sick and raising the 
dead, though said to be of archontic, i.e. diabolic, origin is here 
recommended as a means to be employed under certain safe- 
guards for the purpose of converting " the whole world 1 .' * 
Even the duration of the punishments and the different bodies 
into which the souls of the men are to be cast are made to depend 
upon the relative positions of the stars and planets which seem 
to be interpreted according to the rules of the astrology of 
the time, a so-called science, which is spoken of scornfully 
in the Pistis Sophia itself 2 . Yet it is evident that the author 
or authors of the Texts of the Saviour are acquainted with the 

into the light." Contrast this with the words of the Pistis Sophia proper 
(p. 250, Copt.) : " Those who axe of the light have no need of the mysteries, 
because they are pure light," which are made the " interpretation " of the 
text : " They that are whole have no need of a physician, but they that 
are sick." See also the Pistis Sophia, p, 246, Copt., where it is said of the 
mysteries promised by Jesus that " they lead every race of men inwards 
into the highest places according to the x&P 7 !^ of the inheritance, so that 
ye have no need of the rest of the lower mysteries, but you will find them 
in the two hooks of Jeu which Enoch wrote etc." 

1 p. 280, Copt. 

2 M. T. <r. p. 388, Copt., where it is said that the soul of the righteous but 
uninitiated man is after death taken into Amenti and afterwards into the 
Middle Way, heing shown the tortures in each place, " hut the breath of 
the flame of the punishments shall only afflict him a little," Afterwards 
he is taken to the Virgin of Light, who sets him before the Little Sabaoth the 
Good until the Sphere be turned round so that Zeus (Zf- ) and Aphro- 
dite ( J ) come into aspect with the Virgin of Light and Kronos ( -fr) and 
Ares ( $ ) come after them. She then puts the soul into a righteous body, 
which she plainly could not do unless under the favourable influence of 
the '* benefics " 2+ and $ . This seems also to be the dominant idea of the 
Ezcerpta Theodoti, q.v. 'Compare this, however, with the words of the 
Pistis Sophia proper (pp. 27, 28, Copt.) where Mary Magdalene explains 
that the alteration made by Jesus in the course of the stars was effected in 
order to baffle those skilled in the mysteries taught by the angels " who 
came down" (as in the Book of Enoch), from predicting the future by 
astrology and magic arts learned from the sinning angels. 

186 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

book which precedes it ; for in a description of the powers 
which Jeu, who appears in both as the angelic arranger of 
the Kerrsmos, "binds" in the five planets set to rule over 
it, we learn that he draws a power from cc Pistis Sophia, the 
daughter of Barbelo " and binds it in the planet Venus or 
Aphrodite 1 . As this is the only reference to her, and receives 
no further explanation, it is plain that the writer assumed 
his readers to be well acquainted with Pistis Sophia's history, 
and Jeu, Melchisidek, Adamas, and Jaldabaoth, now one 
of the torturers in Chaos, appear, as we have seen, in both 
works. The author of the Texts of the Saviour also shows 
himself the avowed opponent of the Pagan deities still worshipped 
in the early Christian centuries, as is evidenced by his making 
not only the Egyptian Typhon, but Adonis, Persephone, and 
Hecate, fiends in hell. Oddly enough, however, he gives an 
explanation of the myth of the two springs of memory and 
oblivion that we have seen in the Orphic gold plates in the 
following passage, which may serve as an example of the 
style of the book : 

" Jesus said : When the time set by the Sphere of Destiny 2 for a 
man that is a persistent slanderer to go forth from the body is 
fulfilled, there come unto him Abiuth and Charmon, the receivers 
of Ariel 3 , and lead forth his soul from the body, that they may 
take it about with them for three days, showing it the creatures of 
the world. Thereafter they drag it into Amenti unto Ariel that 
he may torment it in his torments for eleven months and twenty- 
one days. Thereafter they lead it into Chaos unto Jaldabaoth and 
his forty-nine demons, that each of his demons may set upon it 
for eleven months and twenty- one days with whips of smoke. 

1 p. 361, Copt, 

2 That is the Sphere of Destiny acting through its emissary the Moira 
or Fate described above, p. 184 supra. 

3 It is a curious example of the fossilizing, so to speak, of ancient 
names in magic that Shakespeare should preserve for us in the Tempest 
and Macbe&k the names of Ariel and Hecate which we find in the M. r. cr. 
No doubt both were taken by him from mediaeval grimoires which them- 
selves copied directly from the Graeco-Egyptian Magic Papyri mentioned 
in Chap. HI s^pro, Cf. the use of Greek " names of God" like iseUros 
(sic !) athanatos, etc, in Reginald Scot's Discovery of Witchcraft, passim* 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 187 

Thereafter they lead it into rivers of smoke and seas of fire that 
they may torment it therein eleven months and twenty- one days. 
Thereafter they lead it on high into the Middle Way that each of 
the Archons of the Middle Way may torment it with his own torments 
another eleven months and twenty- one days. And thereafter they 
lead it unto the Virgin of Light who judges the righteous and the 
sinners, and she shall judge it. And when the Sphere is turned 
round, she delivers it to her receivers that they may cast it forth 
among the Aeons of the Sphere. And the servants of the Sphere 
lead it into the water which is below the Sphere, that the boiling 
steam may eat into it, until it cleanse it thoroughly. Then Jaluha 
the receiver of Sabaoth Adamas, bearing the cup of oblivion de- 
livers it to the soul, that it may drink therein and forget all the 
places and the things therein through which it has passed 1 . And 
it is placed in an afflicted body wherein it shall spend its appointed 
time 2 .' 5 

The object of the cup of oblivion is obviously that the wicked 
man may learn nothing from the torments he has endured. In 
the case of the righteous but uninitiated dead, the baleful effect 
of this cup will be annulled by " the Little Sabaoth the 
Good" who will administer to Mm another cup "of perception 
and understanding and wisdom" which will make the soul 
seek after the mysteries of light, on finding which it will inherit 
light eternal. 

It would be easy to see in these features of the Texts of the 
Saviour the work of Marcus the magician who, as was said in 
a former chapter, taught, according to the Fathers, a corrupted 
form of the doctrine of Valentinus for his own interested pur- 
poses 3 . The distinguishing feature about his celebration of 
the Eucharist is the same as that given in the Texts of fln& 

1 So that it could not profit by the knowledge of the awful punishments 
prepared for sinners. I do not know that this idea occurs elsewhere. 

2 p. 380, Copt. 

3 The Marcosian authorship of the whole MS. is asserted by Bunsen, 
Hippolytus and his Age, vol. I. p. 47. Kostlin, tlber das gno$tische System des 
Buch Pistis Sophia in the Theologische Jahrbiicher of Baur and Zeller, 
Tubingen, 1854, will have none of it, and declares the Pistis Sophia to be 
an Ophite work. In this, the first commentator on the book is followed by 
Griiber, Der Ophiten, Wurzburg, 1864, p. 5, 3, 4. 

188 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

Saviour, and as Clement of Alexandria was acquainted with 
a sect in his day which substituted water for wine therein 1 , 
it is probable that Marcosians were to be found during the 
latter part of the nnd century in Egypt. It is also to be 
noted that the annotator has written upon the blank leaf 
which separates the first and second books of the Pistis Sophia 
a cryptogram concealing, apparently, the names of the Ineffable 
One and the other higher powers worshipped by Valentinus, 
and 'this seems to be constructed in much the same way as the 
isopsephisms and other word-puzzles attributed by Irenaeus 
to Marcus 2 . The mixture of Hebrew names and words with 
Egyptian ones in the prayer of Jesus given in the Texts of 

1 Clem. Alex. Strom. Bk I. c. 19. 

3 Thus, according to Marcus (Irenaeus, Bk I. e. 8, 11, pp. 145, 146, 
Harvey), " that name of the Saviour which may be pronounced, i>e. Jesus, 
is composed of six letters, but His ineffable name of 24." The cryptogram 
in the Pistis Sophia is in these words (p. 125, Copt.) : " These are the names 
which I will give thee from the Boundless One downwards. Write them 
with a sign that the sons of God may show them forth of this place This 
is the name of the Deathless One 5oa a>o0a>, and this is the name of 
the word by which the Perfect Man is moved : UL. These are the 
interpretations of the names of the mysteries. The first is aaa, the 
interpretation of which is <$$. The second which is /if*/* or which 
is cowo), its interpretation is aaa. The third is t^^, its interpreta- 
tion is ooo. The fourth is <p$<j>, its interpretation is vw. The 
fifth is SSS, its interpretation is aaa, which above the throne is aaa. 
This is the interpretation of the second aaaa, aaaa, aaaa, which is the 
interpretation of the whole name." The line drawn above the three 
Alphas and Omegas is used in the body of the text to denote words in a 
foreign (i.e. non-Egyptian) language such as Hebrew ; but in the Papyrus 
Bruce about to be described, the same letters without any line above are 
given as the name of " the Father of the Pleroma." See Amelineau's text, 
p. 113. The " moving " of the image (TrXdV^a) of the Perfect Man is 
referred to in Hippolytus (op. cit. p. 144, Cruice). That the Tetra- 
grammaton was sometimes written by Jewish magicians with three Jods 
or i.Li. see Gaster, The Oldest Version of Midrash Megillah, in Kohut's 
Semitic Studies, Berlin, 1897, p. 172. So on a magic cup in the Berlin 
Museum, conjuration is made " in the name of Jahve the God of Israel 
who is enthroned upon the cherubim . . . and in. the name A A A A " 
(Stube, Judwch-Babylowsche Zaubertexte, Halle, 1895, pp. 23-27). For the 
meaning of the words "above the throne," see Franck, La Kdbbale, p. 45, 
n. 2. 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 189 

the Saviour would agree well with what the last-named Father 
says about Marcus being a Jew, and a prayer which he represents 
Marcus as making over the head of a convert baptized into his 
sect is couched in a jargon of the same character 1 . On the 
other hand, the opening sentence of the book calls Jesus " our 
Lord," which Irenaeus tells us the Valentinians carefully 
abstained from doing 2 , and the long and detailed description of 
the different hells and their tortures is much more Egyptian 
than Jewish 3 . The remark attributed to Basilides as to one in 
a thousand and two in ten thousand being worthy to take the 
higher mysteries is here put into the mouth of Jesus, and 
perhaps it would be safer to attribute for the present the Texts 
of the Saviour not to Marcus himself, but to some later Gnostic 
who fused together his teaching with that of the earlier and 
more disinterested professors of Egyptian Gnosticism. 

The same remarks apply with but little modification to some 
other fragments of Gnostic writings which have come down 
to us. In the Bodleian Library at Oxford is to be seen a MS. 
written on papyrus, which was brought to this country by 
the Abyssinian traveller, Bruce. This also is in the Sahidic 
dialect of Coptic, and although it has been badly damaged 
and the ink is rapidly disappearing in the damp climate of 
Oxford, yet a copy taken nearly a century ago by Woide makes 
its decipherment possible in most places. The Brace Papyrus, 
like the British Museum parchment MS., contains more than 
one document. Unfortunately the arrangement of the leaves 
is by no means certain, and the two scholars who have studied 
it most thoroughly differ almost as widely as possible as to 
the order of its contents. M. Amelineau, a celebrated Egypto- 
logist and Coptic scholar, who published in 1882 a copy of 

1 The opening wards of the invocation /Soo-ep 

povaSa KOVOTCL /3a]3o<6/> KaXax# which Irenaeus (Bk L c. 14, 2, 
pp. 183, 184, Harvey) quotes in this connection from Marcus certainly 
read, as Renan (ISJfiglise CJuretienne, p. 164, n, 3) points out, " In the 
name of Achamoth " (Le. Sophia). 

a See n. 3, p. 180, supra. In the Pistis Sophia proper Jesus is never 
spoken of save as " the Saviour " or as " the First Mystery." 

3 Of. Maspero, Hypog&s Royaux, passim, esp. pp. 157 and 163* 

190 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

the text with a French translation in the Notices et Extraits of the 
Academie des Inscriptions, considers that the treatises contained 
in it are only two in number, the first being called by the author 
in what seems to be its heading The Book of the Knowledge 
of the Invisible God and the second The Book of the Great Word 
in Every Mystery. Dr Carl Schmidt, of the University of 
Berlin, on the other hand, who, like M. Amelineau, has studied 
the Papyrus at Oxford, thinks that he can distinguish in the 
Bruce Papyrus no less than six documents, of which the first 
two are according to him the two books of Jeii referred to 
in the Pistis Sophia, two others, fragments of Gnostic prayers, 
the fifth a fragment on the passage of the soul through the 
Archons of the Middle Way, and the sixth, an extract from an 
otherwise unknown Gnostic work which he does not venture 
to identify further 1 . To enter into the controversy raised 
by this diversity of opinion would take one outside the limits 
of the present work ; but it may be said that at least one, and 
that the most important, of the documents in question must 
be later than the Pistis Sophia. Not only does this which 
M. Amelineau calls the Book of the Knowledge of the Invisi- 
ble God and Dr Schmidt u Unbekanntes Altgnostisches 
Werk " quote the opening words of St John's Gospel : " In 
the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, 
and the Word was God without whom nothing was made 2 ," 

1 Schmidt's study of the Bruce Papyrus with a full text and translation 
was published in the Texte und Untersucliungen of von Gebhardt and 
Harnack under the title Gnostische ScTwiften in K&plischer Sprache aus 
dem Codex Brucianus, Leipzig, 1892. He republished the translation of 
this together with one of the Pistis Sophia, in the series of early Greek 
Christian literature undertaken by the Patristic Committee of the Royal 
Prussian Academy of Sciences under the title Koptisch-Gnostische Sclfariften, 
Bd I. Leipzig, 1905. His arrangement of the papyrus leaves makes much 
better sense than that of Amelineau, but it is only arrived at by eliminating 
all passages which seem to be inconsequent and attributing them to separate 
works. The fragments which he distinguishes as A and B and describes 
as " gnostischen Gebetes," certainly appear to form part of those which 
he describes as the two " books of Jeii." 

2 Amelbeau, ** Notice sur le Papyrus gnostique Bruce," Notices et JUxtraits 
des M$8. de la BM. Nat. etc. Paris, 1&91, p, 106. This would seem to- 
make matter tfee creatioa of God, but the author gets out of the dilemma 

x] The Pistis Sophia ami its Related Texts 191 

which, as has been said, the author of fhePistis Sophiaw&s unable 
to do ; but it mentions in briefer form than this last the heavenly 
origin of the souls of the Twelve Apostles 1 . There is also in 
the same document a description of what appears to be the 
" emanation of the universe," in which the following passage 
occurs : 

" And He [i.e. the Ineffable One] heard them [a prayer by the 
lesser powers is referred to]. He sent them powers capable of 
discernment, and knowing the arrangement of the hidden Eons. 
He sent them according to the arrangement of those who are 
hidden 2 . He established their Orders according to the orders of 
the Height, and according to the hidden arrangement they began 
from below upward in order that the building might unite 
them. He created the aery earth as a place of habitation for 
those who had gone forth, in order that they might dwell thereon 
until those which were below them should be made strong. Then 
he created the true habitation within it 3 , the Place of Repentance 
(Metanoia) within it, the Place of Repentance within it, the antitype 
of Aerodios 4 . Then [he created] the Place of Repentance within 

by affirming (op. tit. p. 126) that " that wliich was not was the evil which 
is manifested in matter " and that while that which exists is called alaviQ$ 9 
" everlasting," that which does not exist is called vXy, " matter." 

1 Amelineau, op. cit. p. 231. 

2 This word arrangement (olKovofjiia) occurs constantly in the Pistis 
Sophia, as when we read (p. 193, Copt.) that the last TrapcKrrar^s by the 
command of the First Mystery placed Jeu> Melchisedek, and four other 
powers in the TOKOS of those who belong to the right hand irpos oiKoyo/iias- 
of the Assembly of the Light. There, as here, it doubtless means that 
they were arranged in the same order as the powers above them in 
pursuance of the principle that " that which is above is like that which 
is below," or, in other words, of the doctrine of correspondences. 
[From the Gnostics the word found its way into Catiiolic theology, as when 
TertuHian (adv. Prax&m, c* 3) says that the majority of simple-minded 
Christians " not understanding that though God be one, he must yet be 
believed to exist with his akoro^Mt, were frighteused." Of. Hatch, H.L* 
p. 324. 

3 Perhaps the House or Place of 'AX^&ca or Truth many times 
alluded to in the M. r. <r. 

4 Aerodios is shortly after spoken of as a person or power, so that here, 
as elsewhere, in this literature, the place is called by the name of its ruler. 

192 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

it, the antitype of Autogenes (Self -begotten or, perhaps, cc of his 
own kind "). In this Place is purification in the name of Autogenes 
who is god over them and powers were set there over the source 
of the waters which they make to go forth (?). Here are the names 
of the powers who are set over the Water of Life : Michar and 
Micheu, and they are purified in the name of Barpharanges 1 . 
Within these are the Aeons of Sophia. Within these is the true 
Truth, And in this Place is found Pistis Sophia, as also the pre- 
existent Jesus the Living, Aerodios, and his Twelve Aeons 2 ." 

What is intended to be conveyed by this it is difficult to say 
in the absence of the context ; but the Pistis Sophia mentioned 
is evidently the heroine of the book of that name, and the 
abrupt mention of her name without explanation shows, as 
in the Texts of the Saviour, that the author supposed Ms readers 
to be acquainted with her story. While this part of the Papyrus 
may possibly be an attempt by some later writer to fulfil the 
promise to tell His disciples at some future time the " emanation 
of the universe " frequently made by Jesus in the Pistis Sophia, 
it cannot be earlier in date than this last-named document. 

Another large fragment in the Bruce Papyrus is also con- 
nected with that which has been called above the Texts of the 
Saviour, and helps to link up this with the system of the Pistis 
Sophia proper. In the first part of the Texts of the Saviour 
(i.e. the fourth document in the British Museum book), Jesus, as 
has been mentioned, celebrates with prodigies a sacrament which 
He calls the" Baptism of the first Oblation" ; and He tells them 
at the same time that there is also a baptism of perfumes, 
another baptism of the Holy Spirit of Light, and a Spiritual 
Chrism, besides which. He promises them " the great mystery 

1 This word constantly occurs in the Magic Papyri, generally with another 
word prefixed, as crecrtvyev j3ap<J)apayyr]$ (Papyrus Mimaut, 1. 12, Wessely's 
GriecMsche Zauberpapyii, p. 116), which C. W. King (Gnostics and their 
Remains, 2nd ed. p. 289) would translate " they who stand before the mount 
of Paradise " or in other words the Angels of the Presence. Am61ineau 
(Notices, eta p. 144, n. 2) will have Barpharanges to be " a hybrid word, 
part Chaldean and part Greek " meaning " Son of the Abyss " which is 
as unlikely as the other interpretatiqn. 

* p. 14S, Am&ane&a (Notices, etc.) ; p. 361, Schmidt, K.-Q.8. 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 193 

of the Treasure-house of Light and the way to call upon it 
so as to arrive thither/ 5 a " baptism of those who belong to 
the Right Hand," and of " those who belong to the Middle " 
and other matters. These promises are in some sort fulfilled 
in that part of the Bruce Papyrus which Dr Schmidt will have 
it is " the Second Book of Jen 1 ," where Jesus celebrates with 
accompanying prodigies three sacraments which He calls the 
Baptism of Fire of the Virgin of the Treasure-house of Light, the 
Baptism of the Holy Spirit, and a " mystery " which is said to 
take away from Has disciples "the wickedness of the archons 2 ." 
The details of these vary but very slightly from the " Baptism 
of the First Oblation *' celebrated by Jesus in the Texts of the 
Saviour, and seem to have been written in continuation and 
as an amplification of it. But the Texts of the Saviour, as 
we have seen, also mention Pistis Sophia in such a way as 
to presuppose an acquaintance with her history ; and the 
presumption that the author of the Bmce Papyrus had read 
the book bearing her name is confirmed by the repetition in it of 
the names of Jeu, here called " the Great Man, King of the great 
aeon of light," the Great Sabaoth the Good, the Great lao the 
Good, Barbelo 3 , the Great Light, and all the " Amens," " Twin 
Saviours," " Guardians of Veils " and the rest who are classed 
together in the Pistis Sophia as the great emanations of light, 
and mentioned in a connection which shows them to have 
the same functions in all these documents 4 . When we add 
to these the repetition of the tradition, formally stated for 
the first time in the Pistis Sophia, that Jesus spent twelve 
years with His disciples between His Resurrection and His 

1 According to Amelineau, op. cit, " The Book of the Great Word in 
Every Mystery." 

2 pp. 188-199, Amelineam, op. c&. ; Schmidt, E.-GJ3. pp. 308-314. 

3 pp. 219, ^20, Am61ineau, op. <a& ; Schmidt, K.-GJB. p. 226. She 
seems to be here called " the Great Virgin of the Spirit." Of. the *YW- 
devTO yap AlStva TWO. a.v<&\&p*ar cV vapfarutM fttaymn-i n-vevfjurrtj o fiapfirjX&Q 
ovofjLd&vo-i, " For [some of them] suppose a certain indestroetible Aeon 
continuing in a Virgin spirit whom, they call Barbelo" of Irenaeus, 
Bk i. c. 27, 1, p. 222, Harvey* 

4 The powers named are thus called in both the Pistis SopMa and 
the Bruce Papyrus. See Pistis Sophia, pp. 248, 252 Copt. ; Amelineaa, 
op. tit. p. 177. 

L.U. 13 

194 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

Ascension 1 , there can be little doubt that this part of the Papyrus 
Bruce also is subsequent to the Pistis Sophia. Similar argu- 
ments, which are only omitted here for the sake of greater 
clearness, apply to all the rest of Dr Schmidt's documents, 
and it follows that none of the contents of the Papyrus can 
be considered as any part of the " Books of Jeu " mentioned 
in the Pistis Sophia 2 , which, therefore, remains the parent 
document on which all the others are based. As to their 
absolute date, it seems impossible to arrive at any useful 
conclusion. Both M. Amelineau and Dr Schmidt are agreed 
that the Coptic Papyrus is a translation from Greek originals ; 
and M. Amelineau does not put this too far forward when he 
suggests that it was made in the nnd and mrd century of 
our era 3 . Dr Schmidt is probably nearer the mark when 
he puts the actual transcription of the Papyrus as dating in 
the earliest instance from the vth century. His earliest date 
for any of the Greek originals is the first half of the mrd century 4 . 
If now we put these later documents the Texts of the 
Saviour and those contained in the Bruce Papyrus side by 
side, we notice a marked, if gradual, change of tendency from 
'the comparatively orthodox Christianity of the Pistis Sophia 
proper. ID the Texts of the Saviour notably, the fear of hell 
and its punishments is, as we have seen, present throughout, 
and seems to be the sanction on which the author relies to 
compel his readers to accept his teaching. In the documents 
of the Bruce Papyrus this is also to be found in more sporadic 
fashion, nearly the whole of the book being occupied by the 
means by which men are to escape the punishment of their 

1 According to the Pistis Sophia (p. 1, Copt.), 11 years elapsed between 
the Crucifixion and the descent of the " Vestures " upon Jesus on the 
Mount of Olives. We may imagine another year to have been consumed by 
the revelations made in the book. 

* If the " Books of Jeu " were ever written we should expect them to 
bear the name of Enoch,, who is said to have taken them down in Paradise 
at the dictation of Jesus. See p. 147, n. 5, supra. Very possibly the 
expression really does refer to some of the mass of literature once passing 
tinder the name of Enoch and now lost to us. 

3 Am^ineau, op* cit. p. 72. 

4 Schmidt, K.-Q.S. p. 26. 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 195 

sins. These methods of salvation are all of them what we 
have earlier called gnostical or magical, and consist simply 
in the utterance of " names " given us in some sort of crypto- 
grammatic form, and the exhibition of " seals " or rather 
impressions (xapa/crrjpes) here portrayed with great attention to 
detail, which, however, remain utterly meaningless for us. Thus 
to quote again from what Dr Schmidt calls the Second Book 
of Jeu, Jesus imparts to His disciples the " mystery " of 
the Twelve Aeons in these words : 

" When you have gone forth from the body and come into the 
First Aeon, the Archons of that Aeon will come before you. Then 
stamp upon yourselves this seal **, the name of which is zozese. 
Utter this once only. Take in your two hands this number, 1119. 
When you have stamped upon yourselves this seal and have 
uttered its name once only, speak these defences ; c Back I Protei 
Persomphon Chous, Archons of the First Aeon, for I invoke 
fiazazeozazzozeoz.' And when the Archons of the First Aeon shall 
hear that name, they will be filled with great fear, they will flee 
away to the West, to the Left Hand, and you will enter in 1 " : 

and the same process with different names and seals is to be 
repeated with the other eleven aeons. This is, of course, not 
religion, such as we have seen in the writings of Valentinus, 
nor even the transcendental mysticism of the Pistis Sophia, 
but magic, and magic of a peculiarly Egyptian form. 
The ancient Egyptian had always an intense fear of the 
world after death, and from the first conceived a most gloomy 
view of it. The worshippers of Seker or Socharis, a god so 
ancient that we know him only as a component part of the 
triune or syncretic divinity of late dynastic times called Ptah- 
Seker- Osiris, depicted it as a subterranean place deprived 
of the light of the sun, hot and thirsty, and more dreary than 
even the Greek Hades or the Hebrew Sheol. 

cc The West is a land of sleep and darkness heavy, a place where 
those who settle in it, slumbering in their forms, never wake to see 
their brethren; they never look any more on their father and 
their mother, their heart leaves hold of their wives and children. 

1 Am&ineau, op. cit. p. 211; Schmidt, K.-G.S. p. 322. The West or 
Amenti is the Egyptian name for Hades. 


196 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

The living water which earth has for every one there, is foul here 
where I am ; though it runs for every one who is on earth, foul 
is for me the water which is with me. I do not know any spot 
where I would like to be, since I reached this valley ! Give me 
water which runs towards me, saying to me, ; Let thy jug never 
be without water ' ; bring to me the north wind, on the brink 
of water, that it may fan me, that my heart may cool from its pain. 
The god whose name is Let Complete Death, Come, when he has 
summoned anybody to him, they come to him, their hearts disturbed 
by the fear of him ; for there is nobody dares look up to him from 
amongst gods and men, the great are to him as the small and he 
spares not [those] who love him, but he tears the nursling from the 
mother as he does the old man, and everyone who meets him is 
filled with afiright 1 ." 

The priests took care that such a picture did not fade from 
want of reproduction and, true to the genius of their nation, 
elaborated it until its main features are almost lost to us under 
the mass of details 2 . Especially was this the case with the 
religion of the Sun-God Ea a who after his fusion with Amon 
of Thebes at the establishment of the New Empire came to 
overshadow all the Egyptian cults save that of Osiris. The 
tombs of the kings at Thebes are full of pictures of the land 
of this Amenti or the West, in which horror is piled upon 
horror, and book after book was written that there should be 
no mistake about the fate lying in wait for the souls of men 3 . 
In these we see the dead wandering from one chamber to 
another, breathing a heavy and smoke-laden air 4 , and con- 
fronted at every step by frightful fiends compounded from 
the human and bestial forms, whose office is to mutilate, to 
burn, and to torture the soul. The means of escape open to 
the dead was, under the xxth dynasty, neither the conscious- 
ness of a well-spent life nor the fatherly love of the gods, but 
the knowledge of passwords and mysterious names 5 . Every 
chamber had a guardian who demanded of the dead his own 

1 Maspearo, " Egyptian Souls and their Worlds," J&. $gy$tol. I. p. 395. 
* Maspero, " Hypogfe Royaux," tit. HlgyptoL t. n. pp. 148, 165. 
JML pp. 17$, 179. 


8 J&& 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 197 

name, without repeating which, the soul was not allowed 
to enter 1 . Every fiend had to be repelled by a special 
exorcism and talisman 2 , and every " circle " through which 
the dead passed had its own song and " mystery," which it 
behoved the dead to know 3 . Only thus could he hope to 
win through to the Land of Osiris, where he might enjoy a 
relative beatitude and be free to go about and visit the 
other heavenly places 4 . For this purpose, the map, so to 
speak, of the route was engraved on the walls of the tombs of 
those who could afford it, and the necessary words to be said 
written down. Those who were not so rich or so lucky were 
thought to be parcelled out, like the felldhin of that day, or 
the villeins of feudal times, in colonies among the different 
districts of the lower world, where they flourished or perished 
according to the number of talismans or " protections " that 
they possessed 5 . " If ever," says M. Maspero, "there were in 
Pharaonic Egypt mysteries and initiates, as there were in 
Greece and in Egypt under the Greeks, these books later than 
the Boole of the Other World and the Book of the Gates are books 
of mystery and of initiates 6 ." Thereafter, he goes on to 
say, the ancient popular religion disappeared more and more 
from Egypt, to give place to the overmastering sense of the 
terrors of death 7 and the magical means by which it was sought 
to lighten them. 

It is to the survival of these ideas that books like the Texts of 
the Saviour and those in the Papyrus Bruce must be attributed. 
The Gnostic Christianity of Valentinus, direct descendant 
as it was of the amalgam of Christianity with pre-Christian 
faiths which the Ophites had compounded, no sooner reached 
the great mass of the Egyptian people than it found itself 
under their influence. In this later Gnostic literature we hear 
no more of -the Supreme Father of Valentinus, "who alone" 

1 Ibid. p. 166. To make fMnga m cKpe difficult^ the guardian sometimes 
had a different name for every hc^ir. GL ibid. p. 168. 

2 Ibid, pp. 124, n. 2, 163. For the tataaans or amulets, see Maspero, 
" La Table d'Ofomdes," E.H.R. 4. xxxv. (1897), p. 325. 

3 Maspero, " Hyp. Roy." pp. 113, 118. 

4 Ibid. pp. 162, 163. * Ibid. pp. 41, 163. 
Ibid. p. 178. 7 Ibid. p. 179. 

198 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. 

in his words, " is good " ; no more weight is laid upon the 
Faith 3 Hope, and Love who were the first three members 
of his Heavenly Man ; and the Jesus in whom were summed 
up all the perfections of the Godhead becomes transformed 
into a mere mystagogue or revealer of secret words and things, 
All expectation of the immediate arrival of the Parusia or 
Second Coming, when the world is to he caught up and all 
wickedness to be destroyed, has passed into the background, as 
has also the millennium in which the faithful were, in accord- 
ance with a very early belief in Egypt, to share the felicity 
of those who had been kings on earth 1 . Instead we have only 
appeals to the lowest motives of fear and the selfish desire to 
obtain higher privileges than ordinary men. Even the avoid- 
ance of crime has no other sanction, and complete withdrawal 
from the world is advocated on merely prudential grounds ; 
while rejection of the mysteries is the unpardonable sin : 

cc When I have gone unto the light " (says the Jesus of the Texts 
of the Saviour to His disciples) " preach unto the whole world, 
saying : Renounce the whole world and the matter that is therein, 
all its cares, its sins, and in a word all its conversation, that ye 
may be worthy of the mysteries of the light, that ye may be saved 
from all the torments which are in the judgments. Renounce 
murmuring, that ye may be worthy of the mysteries of the light, 

that ye may escape the judgment of that dog-faced one 

Renounce wrath, that ye may be worthy of the mysteries of the 
light, that ye may be saved from the fiie of the seas of the dragon- 
faced one .... Renounce adultery, that ye may be worthy of 
the mysteries of the kingdom of light, that ye may be saved from 

the seas of sulphur and pitch of the lion-faced one Say unto 

them that abandon the doctrines of truth of the First Mystery 
* Woe unto you, for your torment shall be worse than that of all 

1 The kings, according to a belief which was evidently very old in the 
time of the Pyramid-Builders, were supposed to possess immortality as 
being gods even in their lifetime. Later, the gift was extended to rulers 
of BODaefc and other rich men, and finally to all those who could purchase the 
spells that would assure it. In Maspero's words " La vie d'au dela n'etait 
pas uix droit pour F^gyptien : il pouvait la gagner par la vertu des f ormules 
et des praii^tes, maas il pouvait aussi bien la perdre, et s'il etait pauvre 
ou isole, lea cframce& fctaieafc qu*il la perdit a bref delai " (op. tit. p. 174). 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 199 

men, for ye shall dwell in the great ice and frost and hail in the 
midst of the Dragon of the Outer Darkness, and ye shall escape no 
more from the world from that hour unto evermore, but ye shall 
be as stones therein, and in the dissolution of the universe ye shall 
be annihilated, so that ye exist no more for ever 1 '." 

The priests who engraved the horrors of the next world on 
the walls of the royal tombs at Thebes would probably have 
written no differently. 

Gnosticism then, in Egypt soon relapsed into the magic 
from which it was originally derived ; and we can no longer 
wonder that the Fathers of the Church strove as fiercely against 
it as they did. In the age when books like the Texts of the 
Saviour and the fragments in the Papyrus Bruce could be 
written, the methods of Clement of Alexandria, who treated 
Valentinus and his school as Christians bent on the truth 
though led into error by a misunderstanding of the purport 
of heathen philosophy, were clearly out of place. " Ravening 
wolves," " wild beasts," " serpents," and " lying rogues " 
are some of the terms the Fathers now bestow upon them 2 , 
and as soon as the conversion of Constantine put the sword 
of the civil power into their hands, they used it to such effect 
that Gnosticism perished entirely in some places and in others 
dragged on a lingering existence under other forms. The 
compromise that had served for some time to reconcile the 
great mass of the unthinking people to the religion of Christ 
thus broke down 3 ; and Egypt again showed her power of 

1 p. 254, Copt. 

2 de Faye (Intro, etc. p. 110) shows clearly, not only that the aims and 
methods of the school of Valentinus changed materially after its founder's 
death, but that it was only then that the CathoEc Church perceived the 
danger of them, and set to work to combat them systematically. 

3 To thinkers like Dean Inge (Cfarisfam Mysticism, 1899, p. 82) this was 
the natural and appointed end of Ghiostkasm, which according to him was 
" rotten before it was ripe,** " It presents," he says, " all the features 
which we shall find to be characteristic of degenerate mysticism* Not to 
speak of its oscillations between fanatical austerities and scandalous licence, 
and its belief in magic and other absurdities, we seem, when we read 
Irenaeus! description of a Valentmian heretic, to hear the voice of 
venting his contempt upon some Gfe$$ter&r of the sixteenth centory.** 

200 TJie Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [CH. 

resisting and transforming all ideas other than those which 
thousands of years had made sacred to her people. 

Meanwhile, the bridge between Paganism and Christianity 
which Gnosticism afforded had been crossed by many. As the 
Ophites showed the inhabitants of Asia Minor how to combine 
the practice of their ancestral worships with the Christian 
revelation, so Valentinus and his successors allowed the rich 
man to enter the kingdom of heaven without the difficulties 
attendant on the passage of the camel through the needle's 
eye. The authors of the Pistis Sophia and the Bruce Papyrus 
went further and made it possible for the Egyptian fellah then 
as now hating change, and most tenacious of his own beliefs to 
accept the hope of salvation offered by the new faith while 
giving up none of his traditional lore upon the nature of the 
next world. In this way, doubtless, many thousands were 
converted to Christianity who would otherwise have kept 
aloof from it, and thus hastened its triumph over the State. 
But the law which seems to compel every religion to borrow 
the weapons of its adversaries leads sometimes to strange 
results, and this was never more plainly marked than in the 
case of Egypt. The history of Egyptian Christianity has 
yet to be written ; but it seems from the first to have been 
distinguished in many important particulars from that which 
conquered the West, and it is impossible to attribute these 
differences to any other source than Gnosticism. The Pharaonic 
Egyptian had always been fanatical, submissive like all Africans 
to priestly influence, and easily absorbed in concern for his 
own spiritual welfare. Given the passion for defining the 
undefinable and the love of useless detail which marked 
everything in the old faith, and in systems like those of the 
Coptic texts which form the subject of this chapter he had 
the religion to his mind. Nor were other and less abstract 
considerations wanting. The life of a scribe or temple servant, 
as. the race began to lose the vigour which at one time had 
made them the conquerors of Asia, had come to be looked upon 

may be so ; yet* after all, Gnosticism in its later developments lasted for a 
longer time than the doctrines of Luther have done, particularly in the 
land of their birth. 

x] The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts 201 

by the mass of the people as that which was most desirable on 
earth 1 ; and here was a faith which called upon the Egyptian to 
withdraw from the world and devote himself to the care of his 
own soul. Hence the appeal of Gnosticism to those who would 
escape hell to renounce all earthly cares fell upon good ground, 
and Egypt was soon full of ignorant ascetics withdrawn from 
the life of labour and spending their days in ecstasy or con- 
templation until roused to seditious or turbulent action at 
the bidding of their crafty and ambitious leaders. For these 
monks and hermits the Hellenistic civilization might as 
w^ll not have existed ; but they preserved their native super- 
stitions without much modification, and the practices of magic, 
alchemy, and divination were rife among them 2 . So, too, 
was the constant desire to enquire into the nature and activities 
of the Deity which they had brought with them from their 
old faith, and which nearly rent Christianity in twain when 
it found expression in the Arian, the Monophysite, and the 
Monothelite controversies. In the meantime, the Catholic 
Church had profoundly modified her own methods in the 
directions which the experience of the Gnostics had shown 
to be profitable. The fear of hell came to occupy a larger and 
larger part in her exhortations, and apocalypse after apocalypse 
was put forth in which its terrors were set out with abundant 
detail. Ritual necessarily became of immense importance under 
the pressure of converts who believed in the magical efficacy 
of prayers and sacraments, in which every word and every 
gesture was of mysterious import, and the rites of the Church 
were regarded more and more as secrets on which only those 
fully instructed might look. The use in them of pictures, 
flowers, incense, music, and all the externals of the public 
worship of heathen times, which according to Gibbon would 
have shocked a Tertullian or a Laetantius could they have 
returned to earth 3 , must be attributed in the first instance 

1 Of. Maspero, Life, in And&rd Egypt and Assyria, Eng. ed. 1892, pp. 
90-92, for the distaste of the Egyptians of Bamesside times for the life of 
a soldier and their delight in that of a scribe. 

2 All these, especially alchemy, are illustrated in the Magic Papyrus 
of Leyden known as W. See Leemans, Pap. Or. t. n. pp, 83 sqq. 

* Gibbon, Dedine and Fall, vol. m. p. 2H, Bnry's ed. 

202 The Pistis Sophia and its Related Texts [OH. x 

to the influence of Gnostic converts. Kenan is doubtless 
right when he says that it was over the bridge between Paganism 
and Christianity formed by Gnosticism that many Pagan 
practices poured into the Church 1 . 

Apart from these external matters, on the other hand, the 
outbreak of Gnosticism possibly rendered a real service to 
Christianity. To the simple chiliastic faith of Apostolic times, 
the Gnostics added the elements which transformed it into a 
world-religion, fitted to triumph over all the older creeds and 
worships ; and their stealthy and in part secret opposition forced 
the Church to adopt the organization which has enabled her to 
survive in unimpaired strength to the present day. Jewish 
Christianity, the religion of the few pious and humble souls who 
thought they had nothing to do but to wait in prayer and hope 
for their Risen Lord, had proved itself unable to conquer the 
world, and its adherents under the name of Bbionites were 
already looked upon by the Gentile converts as heretics. 
Gnosticism, so long as it was unchecked, was a real danger to the 
Church, but without it Christendom would probably have broken 
up into hundreds of small independent communities, and would 
thus have dissipated the strength which she eventually found 
in unity. Threatened on the one hand by this danger, and 
on the other with the loss of popular favour which the at- 
tractions of Gnosticism made probable, the Church was forced 
to organize herself, to define her doctrines, to establish a regular 
and watchful hierarchy 2 , and to strictly regulate the tendency 
to mystic speculation and arbitrary exegesis which she could 
not wholly suppress. Yet these measures could not come 
into operation without producing a reaction, the end of which 
we have yet to see. 

1 Renan, Ltfiglise Chretienne, pp. 154, 155, and authorities there 
quoted. Cf. Hatch, E. L. pp. 129, 130, 293, 307-309. 

2 Earnack, WJiat is Christianity ? p. 210 ; Duchesne, Early Christian 
Clwrch, p. 32. 



WE have seen that Valentinus left Alexandria to settle in 
Rome before promulgating Ms new doctrine 1 , and the Eternal 
City seems at that time to have drawn to itself as with a magnet 
all those Oriental teachers of Christianity who wished to make 
innovation in religion. Home in the nnd century had become 
a veritable sink into which poured men of all nations and creeds 
whether old or new. Besides the great flood of Isiacists, 
Mithraists, and worshippers of the Great Goddess and of the 
Syrian Baals, that now began to appear there, Alexander of 
Abonoteichos came thither under Marcus Aurelius to celebrate 
his newly-invented mysteries 2 , and succeeded in: gaining a foot- 
hold at the Imperial Court. Moreover in A.D. 140, the terrible 
war of extermination which Hadrian had been compelled much 
against his will to wage against the Jewish nation was at length 
over, and the effect of this was to transfer a great number of 
Asiatic and African Christians to the world's metropolis, while 
making it more than ever expedient for them to disclaim 
connection with the Jews. The slightly contemptuous tolera- 
tion, too, which the statesmanlike Hadrian seems to have 
extended to the Christians 3 , was not likely to be withdrawn 
without reason by his philosophic successor, Antoninus Kus ; 
and it was doubtless the consciousness of this which led to the 
appearance of the various c * apologies" for, or defences of, 
Christianity which Quadratus, Aristides, Justin Martyr, and 
other persons with some philosophic training now began to put 
forth. In such of these as have come down to us, the desire 

1 Chap. IX. p. 118 supra. 

* Renan, Marc Aur&le, p. 49. Cf. Pill, Nero to Marcus, pp. 473-477. 
3 Benan, L'figlise Chr&ienne, pp. 31-33, and Hadrian's letter there 

204 Marcion [OH. 

of their authors to dissociate themselves from the Jews, then 
at the nadir of their unpopularity, is plainly manifest, and no 
doubt gave the note to the innovators 1 . It is certainly very 
marked in the heresy of Marcion, which, unlike those of 
Valentinus and the other Gnostics, was to culminate in the 
setting-up of a schismatic Church in opposition to that founded 
on the Apostles. 

Marcion was, according to the better account, a wealthy 
shipowner of Pontus and probably a convert to Christianity 2 . 
He seems to have been born at Sinope, at one time the most 
important of the Greek towns on the Southern shore of the 
Euxine or Black Sea. Mithridates the Great, who was also 
born there, had made Sinope his capital, and though it had 
no doubt declined in rank since his time, it must still have been, 
in the year 100 A.D. (the probable date of Marcion's birth), a 
flourishing and prosperous place 3 . As in all the cities of Asia 
Minor, the Stoic philosophy had there obtained a firm hold, 
and there is some reason for thinking that Marcion received 
lessons in this before his conversion 4 . Of the circumstances 
which led to this event we have no knowledge, and it was even 
said in later times that he was born a Christian, and that his 
father had been a bishop of the Church. A better founded 
story is that, on his conversion, he brought into the common 
fund of the Church a considerable sum of money, which is said 
to have been paid out to him on Ms expulsion 5 . When at the 

1 Of the defences mentioned in the text the Apology of Quadratus is the 
only one still lost to us. Justin Martyr's two Apologies are among the 
best known of patristic works. That of Aristides was found by Dr Rendel 
Harris in a Syriac MS. in 1889. For the identification of this by Dean 
Armitage Robinson with the story of Barlaam and Josaphat, see Cambridge 
Texts and Studies, vol. 1. No. 1, 

2 The account of Marcion's life given by Salmon (s.v. Marcion) in the 
ZH'ctf. Christian Biog. is here mostly followed. Abundant references to the 
Fathers and other sources are there given. 

3 TertulKan's talk (adv. Marcion. Bk i. c. 1) about its barbarism and 
the natives living in waggons is mere rhetoric. He probably knew nothing 
about the place. 

4 Stoicae studiows. TertuUian, de Praescript* c. xxx. 

5 Id. adv. Marc. Bfc rv. c. 4; and de Praesoript. c. xxx., where the money 
is said to have been 200 sestertia or nearly 1800, 

xi] Marcion 205 

mature age of forty lie went to Rome, it seems reasonable to 
suppose that he accepted the orthodox teaching, as it is said 
that there was some talk of his being made bishop of what was 
even then the richest and highest in rank of all the Christian 
Churches. At Borne, however, he fell in with one Cerdo, a 
Syrian, who seems to have been already domiciled there and to 
have taught in secret a pronouncedly dualistic system in which 
God and Matter were set in sharp opposition to one another, 
and in which it was held that a good God could not have been 
the author of this wicked world 1 . This opinion Marcion 
adopted and elaborated, with the result that he was expelled 
from the Catholic Church, and thereupon set to work to found 
another, having bishops, priests, deacons, and other officers in 
close imitation of the community he had left 2 . It is said that 
before his death he wished to be reconciled to the Church, but 
was told that he could only be readmitted when he had restored 
to the fold the flock that he had led away from it. This, on 
the authority of Tertullian, he would have been willing to do ; 
but his rival Church had by that time so enormously increased 
in numbers, that he died, probably in 165 A.D., before he was 
able to make the restitution required 3 . This story also can 
only be accepted with a great deal of reserve 4 .. 

It is abundantly plain, however, that Marcion was regarded 
not only by the professed heresiologists of the succeeding age, 
but also by teachers like Justin Martyr and the learned Clement 
of Alexandria, as one of the most formidable enemies of the 
Church, whose evil influence persisted even after his death 5 . 
By the reign of Gratian, his rival Church had spread over Italy, 
Egypt, Palestine, Arabia, Syria, and Persia 6 ; and, although 
the main authority for the increase is the always doubtful one 

1 Tertullian, adv. Marc. Bk i. c. 2. Gf. Pseodo Tertollianns, adv. omn- 
Haer. c. xvi. 

* Neander, Ck. Hist. JL p. 150 ; of. TerfcnBan, de Praesaript. c, XLI. 

3 Ibid. op. cit. e. xxx. Salmom (Di0& Qkiistiain Biog. s.#. Marcion) wishes 
to transfer this story to Gerdo. 

4 Neander, Church Hi#L n. p. 139, disbelieves it. 

5 Justin Martyr, First ApoL oc. xxvi., LVIII. He writes as Marcion's 
contemporary. Of. Gem. Alex. Strom. Bk m. e. 3. 

6 Epiphanius, Haer. xi-jr. p. 553, Oehler. 

206 Marcion [OH. 

of Epiphanius, this last was not likely to have unduly magnified 
the success of the Church's rival, and his story has the confirma- 
tion of Tertullian that in his time the Marcionites made churches 
Ci as wasps make nests 1 ." Every Father of note seems to have 
written against the heresiarch who had thus dared, as was said, 
to turn away souls from Christ, and Polycarp, the saint and 
martyr, when Marcion claimed acquaintance with him in Rome 
on the strength of a former meeting in Smyrna, replied with 
much heat, " Yes, I know thee ! the first-born of Satan 2 ." 
So late as the Council in Trullo in the vnth century, special 
arrangements -had to be made for the reception of Marcionites 
who wished to be reconciled to the Church, and forms of abjura- 
tion of the sect are said to have lingered until the xth 3 . 

That this longevity was purchased by no willingness to 
make the best of both worlds or to enjoy peace by compromising 
with heathenism in the way we have seen prevalent among the 
Alexandrian Gnostics, is at once evident. Alone among the 
heretics of the sub-Apostolic Age, the Fathers declare, the 
Marcionites held fast their faith in time of persecution, while 
they refused to frequent the circus and the theatre and practised 
an austerity of life putting to shame even the ascetics among 
the orthodox*. Marcion himself underwent none of the slanders 
on his personal morals which theologians generally heap upon 
their opponents 5 , and none of his tenets are said by either 
Tertullian or Epiphanius, who took his refutation most seriously 
in hand, to have been borrowed from those Pagan rites or 
mysteries which they looked upon as forming the most shameful 

1 Tertullian, adv. Marc. Bk IV. c. 5. 

2 Eusebius, Hist. Ecd. Bk rv. c. 14. 

3 The council was held 692 A.D. See Salmon in Diet. Christian Biog. 
s.v. Marcion. 

* Tertullian, adv. Marc. Bk i. c. 27. 

5 The story that he seduced a virgin is now generally held to mean 
merely that he corrupted the unsullied faith of the Church. Of. Hegesippus 
in Eusebins, Hist. Eccl Bk v, c. 22. So Salmon, art. ctt. supra. As Neander 
points out (Oh. Hist. n. p. 136 note), Tertullian, had he known the story, 
would certainly have published it. Yet he contrasts Marcion's chastity 
with the real or supposed incontinence of his follower, Apelles (de Praescript. 

xi] Marcion 207 

source from which to contaminate the pure doctrine of the 
Church. Irenaeus, who was his junior by some twenty or thirty 
years, and may have known him personally, says indeed that 
he was a disciple of Simon Magus 1 , but in this he may have 
alluded merely to his position as the founder of a rival 
Church. Hippolytus is silent about this ; but, true to his system 
of attacking philosophy on account of its supposed connection 
with heresy, says that Marcion is a disciple, not of Christ, but 
of Empedocles 2 . There is much to be said for the view that 
Marcion' s heresy was so well and firmly established before the 
end of the nnd century, that those who then denounced it 
really knew little of its beginnings 3 . They are, however, 
unanimous as to the more than Puritanical attitude adopted by 
its founders. The Marcionites were allowed neither to drink 
wine nor to eat flesh, and those believers in their tenets who 
were married had either to separate from their wives or to remain 
among the catechumens until about to die, it being unlawful 
for them to receive baptism save on their deathbeds 4 . 

Marcion' s, indeed, seems to have been one of those ruggedly 
logical and uncompromising natures, not to be led away by 
reverence for authority or tradition, which appear once or 
twice in the history of most religions ; and it is doubtless this 
quality which has led Prof. Harnack, as did Neander in the last 
"century, to claim him as the first reformer of the Catholic 
Church 5 . Like another Luther, Marcion declared that the 
Church had become corrupted by the additions made by men 
to the pure teaching she had received from her Founder, and 
that only in return to her primitive faith was safety to be found. 
For this primitive faith, he appealed, like the makers of the 
German Reformation, to the words of Scripture, but he differed 
from them most widely in the limitations that he placed upon 
them. It was. he declared, impossible to find any attributes 

1 Irenaeus, Bk I. c. 25, p. 219, Harvey. 

2 Hippolytus, op. cit* Bk vn. c.^3, p. 370, Craice. 

a So Salmon, art, cik^ Renan* and others. This view, however, cannot 
apply to Justin Martyr who was, as we have seen, his contemporary. See 
n. 5. p. 205 supra. 

* See Salmon (Did. Christian Biog. s.v. Marcion) for authorities, 
6 See Harnack's article on Marcion in Encyc. Brit, (llth ed.). 

208 Marcion [CEL 

in common between the God of the Old Testament and the 
Supreme (and benevolent) Being of whom Jesus announced 
Himself the Son, and he therefore rejected the Old Testament 
entirely. In the same way, he said that the Canonical Gospels 
then received among Christians had become overlaid with 
Jewish elements introduced by the Asiatic converts among whom 
they were first circulated ; and that the narrative in the Gospel 
according to Luke was alone trustworthy 1 . From this also, 
he removed the whole series of traditions concerning the Birth 
and Infancy of Jesus ; and made it begin in effect with the 
words of the fourth chapter in which is described the coming- 
down of Jesus to " Capernaum, a city of Galilee." These he 
combined with the opening words of Luke iii. 5 so that the event 
was described as taking place in the " fifteenth year of the reign 
of Tiberius Caesar 2 ." He also excised from the Gospel every- 
thing which could indicate any respect shown by the Founder 
of Christianity to the Torah or Law of the Jews, the allusions 
to the Jewish traditions concerning Jonah and the Queen of 
Sheba, the supposed fulfilment of the Jewish prophecies in the 
person and acts of Jesus, and the statement that He took part 
in the Paschal Feast. He further removed from it every passage 
which represents Jesus as drinking wine or taking part in any 
festivity, and in the Lord's Prayer he struck out the petition 
for delivery from evil, while modifying the " Hallowed be thy 
name ! " It has been suggested that in this last case he may 
have given us an older version than that of the Canon 3 . 

With the remainder of the New Testament, Marcion took 
similar liberties. He rejected entirely the Acts of the Apostles, 
The Apocalypse of St John, the Epistle to the Hebrews, and the 
Epistles generally called " Pastoral," as well as all those passing 
under the names of St John, St James, St Peter and St Jude. 

1 Tertullian, adv. Marc. Bk iv. c. 2. Marcion apparently knew nothing 
of St John's Gospel, which may not have become public till after his death. 
Had he done so, as Renan says (U$gl. Chretienne, p. 71), he would probably 
have preferred it to any other, because of its markedly anti- Jewish tendency. 

2 According to him, Jesus was not born of woman. Cf. Hippolytus, 
op. c& Bk vn. c. 31, pp. 383-384, Cruice. 

a The whole controversy is well summed up in Matter, Hist, du Cfnost. 
t. n. pp. 238-242. 

xi] Marcion 209 

For the Apostle Paul, however, Marcion had a profound 
admiration, pronouncing him to be the only true follower of 
Jesus, and he accepted with some alterations the ten epistles 
which he thought could with confidence be attributed to him. 
These were the Epistles to the Galatians, the two to the Corin- 
thians, the one to the Romans, both those to the Thessalonians, 
that to the Ephesians or, as he preferred to call it, to the 
Laodiceans, and those to the Colossians, to Philemon, and to 
the Philippians. From these ten epistles, he removed every- 
thing which described the fulfilment of the prophecies of th& 
Jewish prophets, all allusions to the Parusia or Second Coming, 
and some expressions which seemed to him to militate against 
the asceticism that he himself favoured 1 . All these alterations 
seem to have been set down by Marcion in a book to which he 
gave the name of the Antitheses > and which contained his 
statement of the incongruities apparent between the Old and 
New Testaments. This book is now lost, and the details of 
Marcion's emendations have in consequence to be picked out 
from the treatise of Tertullian against him, the statements of 
Epiphanius, and the anonymous discourse de Becta Fide which 
is sometimes included in the works of Origen 2 . 

If these alterations of the Scriptures generally received 
depended on any independent tradition, or even upon a rational 
criticism, they would be of the greatest use to modern textual 
critics, who have in consequence hoped eagerly that some lucky 
chance might yet give us a copy of Marcion's Gospel 3 , But 
the Fathers make no allusion to any claim of the Mnd ; and IB 
the absence of Marcion' s own words, it seems likely that his 
alterations were merely dictated by the preoccupation regarding 
the Divine nature which seems with him to have amounted to 
a passion. Never, he said, could the jealous and irascible God 

1 See Matter, o^>. tit. t. n, pp. 246-260, where Marcioa's emendations 
are given chapter by chapter amd tlieir sources cited. 

2 Hahn, in his Antitheses Maw&ows gnos&ci f Konigsberg, 1823, claimed 
to have restored this book, while Hilgenleld has examined the extant 
remains of Marcion's Gospel in Dos Bwmgelium Marc/ions. He attempted 
to restore Marcion' s AposfaMcon, in the %etisc,far, fur 7&st. Theol. 1855. 

3 The Antitheses seem to have been seen by Photius in the xth century, 
so that we need not despair. 

L,n. 14 

210 Marcion [OH. 

of the Jews be identified with, the loving and benevolent Spirit 
whom Jesus called His Father. Hence there was not one God ; 
but two Gods. One of these was the Supreme Being, perfect 
in power as in goodness, whose name, as perhaps the Orphics 
and the Ophites taught, was Love 1 . Too great to concern 
Himself with sublunary things, and too pure, as Plato and 
Philo had both said, to have any dealings with an impure and 
sinful world, He remained seated apart in the third or highest 
heaven, inaccessible to and unapproachable by man, like the 
unknown Father of Valentinus and the other Gnostic sects 2 . 
Below Him was the Creator, or rather the Demiurge or Fashioner 
of the World, in constant conflict with matter, which he is 
always trying unsuccessfully to conquer and subdue in accor- 
dance with his own limited and imperfect ideas. Just, according 
to Marcion, was the Demiurge, whom he identified with the 
God of the Jews ; and it was this attribute of justice which 
prevented bi from being considered wholly evil in his nature, 
as was Satan, the active agent of the matter with which the 
Demiurge was always striving. Yet the Demiurge was the 
creator of evil on his own showing 3 , and as such is entitled to 
no adoration from man, whom he has brought into a world full 
of evil. Man's rescue from this is due to the Supreme God, 
who sent His Son Jesus Christ on earth that He might reveal 
to mankind His Heavenly Father, and thus put an end to the 
sway of the Demiurge. 

That Jesus on His coming was seized and slain by the Jews, 
with at least the connivance of the Demiurge, Marcion admitted. 
But as this might seem like a defeat of the Supreme Being by 
His inferior, he was forced to accept the theory called Docetism 
which was in favour with many other Gnostics. According to 
this, the body of Jesus was not real flesh and blood, and had 

1 Like the Eros-Phanes of the Orphics and the Ophite Agape. So 
Pausanias, Bk IX. c. 27, says the Lyeomidae sang in the Mysteries hymns to 
Eros, "which he had read, thanks to a da$ouxs or torch-bearer at Eleusis. 

2 Tertullian, adv. Marc. Bk I. c. 2, says that Marcion is obliged to admit 
the existence of a Creator, because his work is manifest ; but that he mil 
never be able to prove that of a higher God than he a mode of reasoning 
which might take Mm further than he intends. 

3 Isaiah, xlv. 7. 

xi] Mar don 211 

indeed no actual existence, but was a phantasm which only 
appeared to mankind in the likeness of a man 1 . Hence it 
mattered nothing that this body, which did not really exist, 
appeared to suffer, to be slain, and even to rise again. The 
Supreme God was not mocked, and the resurrection of the body 
was to Marcion a thing unthinkable. 

In lesser matters, Marcion's dislike of the God of the Jews 
is, perhaps, more marked. Man's body, according to him, was 
made by the Demiurge out of matter 2 , but without any spark 
from a higher world infused into it, as the Ophites and Valentinus 
had taught. Hence man was naturally inclined to evil, and 
the Law which the Demiurge delivered to him was more or less 
of a snare. Man was sure to give way to the evil desires inherent 
in matter, and on doing so became with all his race subject to 
the power of matter and the evil spirits inhabiting it. It is 
true that the Demiurge had devised a plan of salvation in the 
shape of the Law of the Jews delivered to them on Sinai. But 
this concerned one small people only, and it was but a fraction 
of that community which could hope to observe it in all its 
forms and ceremonies. Did they do so, the Demiurge would 
provide for them a modified felicity in that region of Hades 
called the Bosom of Abraham 3 . For those Gentiles, and even 
for those Jews who from weakness or obstinacy did not obey the 
Law, he had prepared punishment and, apparently, eternal 
tortures. It is true that he promised the Jews a Messiah who 
should lead them to the conquest of the earth, but this leader 
certainly was not Jesus 4 ; and it is probable that Marcion 
thought that His Mission had put it out of the power of the 
Demiurge to fulfil any of these promises. 

Possibly it was the same dislike of the Jews that led Marcion 
to consider St Paul as the only real apostle of Jesus. The others, 
he said, had overlaid the faith that they had received with 
Jewish traditions ; but Paol, chosen by Jesus after His 
Ascension 5 , had resisted their attempt to reintroduce the Law 
of the Jews, and was, in Ms own words, an apostle sent not 

1 TertulKan, adv. Marc. Bk nr. c. 8. 2 Neander, Ch. Hist. n. pp. 1 42 &&. 

3 TertulHan, adv. Marc. Bk HL c. 24. 

4 Op. cti. Bfc m. c. 4. Cf. Neander, Ch. Hist. n. p. 144. 
6 Tertullian, op. cti. Bk V. c. 1. 


212 Marcion [OH. 


from men, nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father 
who raised Him from the dead 1 . Marcion also seems to have 
laid stress upon St Paul's wonder that the Galatians were " so 
soon removed from Him who hath called you to His grace to 
another Gospel 2 /' with the suggestion that this second gospel 
was the contrivance of the Demiurge ; and generally to have 
accentuated the controversy between St Peter and St Paul 
mentioned in the Epistle bearing their name 3 . From the same 
Epistle to the Galatians, Marcion appears to have erased the 
name of Abraham where his blessing is said to have " come on 
the Gentiles through Jesus Christ 4 " ; and in like manner, to 
have read into the passage in the First Epistle to the Corinth- 
ians 5 , where it is said that " the world by wisdom knew not 
God/' expressions implying that it was the " Lord of this 
World," i.e. the Demiurge, who was ignorant of the Supreme 
Being 6 . As this ignorance of the Demiurge was a favourite 
theme of the Ophites and other Gnostics, it is possible that 
Marcion was more indebted to these predecessors of his than 
modern commentators on his teaching are inclined to allow ; 
but he perhaps justified his reading by tacking it on to the 
passage in the Second Epistle to the Corinthians which says 
that " the God of this world hath blinded the minds of them 
which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, 
who is the image of God, should shine upon them 7 ." From the 
Epistle to the Romans, in which he seems to have made very 
large erasures 8 , Marcion draws further arguments in favour of 
his contention that the Jews were kept in ignorance of the 
Supreme God, relying upon texts like : 

" For they [i.e. Israel] being ignorant of God's righteousness and 
going about to establish their own righteousness, have not submitted 
themselves unto the righteousness of God 9 ." 

So, too, in the Second Epistle to the Thessalonians, 
Marcion rejects the passage which declares that Jesus shall 

1 Gal. i. 1. Tertullian, adv. Marc. Bk v., contains most of Marcion's 
dealings with the Pauline Epistles. 

* Gal t i 7. * GaL ii. 11 sqq- 4 Gal. iii 14. 

5 1 Cor. L 21. 6 Tertullian, adv. Marc. Bk v. c. 5. 

7 2 Cor. iv. 4. Of. TertuHian, op. <& Bk v. c. 11. 

8 Tertullian, op. oit. Bk v. e. 14. Rom, x. 2, & 

xi] Marcion 213 

coine "in flaming fire taking vengeance 1 ," which he considered 
inconsistent with the benevolence of Himself and His Father. 
We do not know whom he considered to be the Antichrist there 
predicted, as Epiphanius leaves us in doubt whether Marcion 
accepted the verses which go by the name of the Little 
Apocalypse, but Tertullian seems to imply that Marcion may 
have assigned this part to the Messiah of the Demiurge 2 . In 
like manner, he is said to have altered the passage in the Epistle 
to the Ephesians which speaks of " the mystery which from 
the beginning of the world hath been hid in God 3 / 5 so as to 
make it appear that the mystery was hid not in God, but/rom 
the god who created all things, meaning thereby the Demiurge 4 . 
Until some lucky discovery gives us the text of Marcion's 
Antitheses it is difficult to say whether he has been correctly 
reported by his adversaries, or whether, which is probable 
enough, they have suppressed evidence brought forward by 
him in support of these erasures and interpolations. That in 
putting them forward, he did so in such a way as to leave many 
an opening to a skilled controversialist is easy to believe, and 
there are many passages in Tertullian's refutation which show 
that his forensically- trained adversary took advantage of these 
with more eagerness than generosity. But the noteworthy thing 
about the long drawn out dialectic of Tertullian J s treatise 
Against Marcion, is the way in which Marcion throughout 
resolutely abstains from any of the allegorical or figurative 
interpolations of Scripture which we have seen so prevalent 
among all the Gnostic writers from Simon Magus down to the 
authors of the Pistis Sophia and its connected texts. Every- 
where, it would seem, he took the Biblical texts that he Quotes 
at their literal meaning and never seems to have attempted to 
translate any of them by trope or figure. In like manner, we 
find him, so far as his adversaries* account goes, entirely free 
from that preoccupation c^ttcerning the divisions and order of 
the spiritual world which plays so large a part in the speculations 
of the systems hitherto described. Nor does he show any 
tendency to the deification of abstract ideas which is really at 

1 2 Thess. i 8. CL TertalMan, op. at. Bk v. c. 16. 

a Epiphanios, Haer^ SLTT. p. 676, Oehler ; Tertdlian, loc. tit. 

3 Ephes, iili. 8, 9. * Tertallfon, op. eft. Bk v. c, 18. 

214 Marcion [OH. 

the root of all Gnostic systems whether before or after Christ. 
Nowhere does Marcion let fall an expression which could make 
us think of the Sophia or Wisdom of God as a separate entity 
or personified being, nor is the Logos of Plato and his Alexan- 
drian admirers ever alluded to by him. Hence, he in no way 
contributes to the growth, so luxuriant in his time, of mythology 
and allegory 1 . In everything he exhibits the hard and unimagi- 
native quality of the practical man. 

These considerations have great bearing on the question of 
the source of his heresy. Had he busied himself, like the 
Gnostics, with elaborate descriptions of the invisible universe, 
one would have thought that he owed something to the ancient 
Egyptian theology, in which such speculations occupied nearly 
the whole care of its professors. Had he, on the other hand, 
studied to personify the attributes and qualities of the Supreme 
Being, one would have been able to connect his teaching with 
that of the Persian religion, in which, as will be seen in the next 
chapter, the idea of such personification took the principal place. 
This connection would have been natural enough, because the 
province of Pontus, whence Marcion came, had long been 
subject to the Persian power, and did not Become Roman in 
name until the reign of Nero. Yet no trace of such a connection 
is even hinted at by adversaries perfectly well informed of the 
main tenets of the Persian religion 2 . The inference is therefore 
unavoidable that Marcion's views were original, and that they 
were formed, as was said by a critic of the last century, by a 
sort of centrifugal process, and after rejecting in turn all heathen 
and Jewish elements, as well as most of the traditions which 
had already grown up in the Catholic Church 3 . That Marcion 

1 But see n. 2, p. 217, infra. 

2 As is plain from the words of Plutarch quoting, as is generally thought, 
Theopompus of Chios. See Is. et Os. cc. XLVI., XLVH. Al-Biruni, Chronology, 
p. 189, says indeed that both Bardesanes and Marcion borrowed from 
Zoroaster. But this was eight centuries after Marcion' s death, and we 
have no evidence as to Al-Biruni' s means of knowledge of his tenets. 

3 Harvey's Irenaeus, I. p. cli. There is a curious resemblance to 
Marcion^ Demiurge in the Clementine Homilies, xx. c. 2, where the king 
of this world who rules by law and rejoices in the destruction of sinners is 
mentioned. But the Homilies are probably Ebionite and certainly, in the 
form in which they have come down to us, later than Marcion. 

xi] Marcion 215 

was aware of this seems probable from the many efforts made 
by Mm to be reconciled to the Clmrcli, or rather to convert the 
whole Church to his way of thinking. In this, as in the em- 
phasis which he laid on faith rather than knowledge as the 
source of man's happiness in this world and the next, he again 
anticipated in a most striking manner the views of the German 
Reformers some fourteen centuries later 1 . 

A like analogy is to be seen in the practices of the Marcionite 
churches, so far at any rate as we may trust to the reports of 
their orthodox opponents. True, as it would seem, to his 
conviction of the complete failure of the scheme of the Demiurge, 
Marcion set his face even more sternly than our own Puritans 
of Cromwell's time against anything that should look like 
enjoyment of the things of this world 2 . His followers were 
enjoined to eat no meat, to abstain from wine even in the 
Eucharist, which in the Marcionite churches was celebrated with 
water, and to observe perpetually the strictest continence 3 . 
The Sabbath was kept by them as a fast and, although this may 
look like an obedience to Jewish custom, Epiphanius, who is our 
sole authority for the observance, tells us that Marcion expressly 
rejected this attribution 4 . Virginity was, according to him, the 
only state of life for the true Christian; and although he 
freely baptized unmarried men and eunuchs, he refused baptism 
to married persons, as has been said, until they were divorced 
or on the point of death 5 . To the enticements of the circus, 
the gladiatorial shows, and the theatre, the Marcionites used, 
according to Tertullian, to return the answer " God forbid ! " ; 
and they made the same reply, he tells us, when invited to save 
their lives in time of persecution by sacrificing a f ew grains of 

1 Neander Antignotfikus, Eng. ed. voL IT. p. 490, calls him the repre- 
sentative of the Protestant spirit. In modern times, it is perhaps sufficient 
to notice Haroaek's predilection, as shown in Ms Dogmmge^ckte, for 
Marcion and his works. Foakes-Jaekson, Some Christian DiffimLHes of the 
Second, and Twentieth Centwries (Hufean Lectures), Cambridge, 1903, 
pp. 19 sqq. t thinks the study of the controversy between Marcion and 
Tertullian should especially appeal to Modernists. 

2 Hippolytus, o-p. cit. Bk vn. c. 29, p. 37S, Cruice. 

3 Epiphanius, Haer. XLH. p. 556, Oehler. 4 Op. el loc. e& 
6 Tertullian, adv. Marc. Bk iv. c. 11 Of- p. 207, supra. 

216 Mar don [OH. 

incense to the genius of the Emperor 1 . The reason of all this 
austerity was apparently their contempt for the kingdom of 
the Demiurge and their resolve to do nothing to prolong his rule. 

Of the spread of the Marcionite heresy we have very little 
more information than that given above. Prof. Harnack thinks 
150-190 A.D. was the " golden age of the Marcionites 2 ," but 
Tertullian evidently considered that some thirty years after 
the last of these dates they were nearly as numerous as the 
Valentinians, whom he speaks of as the largest sect of heretics 3 . 
An inscription found in a Syrian village refers to a " synagogue " 
of Marcionites occupying a site there in 318 A.D. 4 , which is, as 
lias been remarked, older than the earliest dated inscription of 
the Catholic Church. Theodoret, too, about 440 A.D., boasts of 
having converted more than a thousand of them, a statement 
which afterwards swells into eight villages and supposes that 
they were pretty thickly clustered together 5 . Yet they must 
have led a miserable existence, being persecuted by the Imperial 
authorities and their Christian brethren at ,once, and it is not 
to be wondered at that Marcion himself addresses some followers 
in a letter quoted by Tertullian as " my partners in hate and 
wretchedness 6 /' It speaks volumes for their faith that they 
continued to hold it in spite of everything. 

This was the more to their credit that they were by no means 
at one in matters of belief. In a passage quoted in a former 
chapter, Tertullian says that the Marcionites thought it fair to 
do what Marcion had done, that is, to innovate on the faith 
according to their own pleasure. This is a rhetorical way of 
putting it ; for the successors of Marcion seem to have differed 

1 Tertullian, op. cit. Bk I, c. 27. 

* Harnack in Encyclopaedia Britannica (llth ed.) s.v. " Marcion." 

3 He always couples Valentinus and Marcion together. Cf . de Praescpt. 
cc. xxis., xxx. Justin Martyr, Marcion' s contemporary, says ( First Apolog. 
o. xxvi.) that "he is even now teaching men of every nation to speak 
blasphemies." Benan, Vfigl. Chr&ienne, p. 363, thinks that the Marcionites 
were "much the most numerous sect before Arius." 

4 Foakes-Jackson, Hulsean Lectures, p. 108. Cf. Sanday, The Gospels 
in the 2nci Cent., Oxford, 1876, p. 236. 

5 Theodoret, Epp. 113 and 145. 

* o-vpftKrovpevot. KCU orui/roXaiV^ot : Tertullian, a$v. Marc. Bk iv. 
cc. 9, 30. 

xi] Mareion 217 

among themselves mainly upon one point, which was, in fact, 
the number of " principles " which lay at the beginning of 
things 1 . Thanks to his Stoical training, Marcion was forced to 
assign a large part in the formation of the cosmos to Matter, 
which he nevertheless thought to be essentially evil. But in 
that case, how did it come into existence ? It surely could not 
be the creation of the Supreme and benevolent Being whose 
name was Love ; and if not, how did it come to exist independ- 
ently of Him ? To these questions it is possible that the 
essentially practical genius of Marcion saw no need to return 
any answer, and was content to regard them, like Epicurus 
before him, as insoluble problems. But his followers apparently 
refused to do so ; and hence there arose considerable diversity of 
opinion. According to an Armenian author of late date, Marcion 
himself taught that there were three principles, that is, the 
Supreme God, the Demiurge or Creator, and Matter, which he 
regarded as a sort of spouse to the Demiurge 2 . This, however, 

1 See Neander, Cli. Hist. vol. n. pp. 151 sqq. and Matter,, Hist, du Gnost. 
t. u. pp. 298, 304. 

2 Eznig of Goghp, from whose History of the Armenian Church quota- 
tion has been made above. He says that Marcion taught that there were 
three heavens, in the highest of which dwelt the Good God, in the nest 
the God of the (Jewish) Law, and in the third his angels. Below this lay 
Hyle or Matter who existed independently and was female. From the 
union of the God of the Law and Hyle, this earth was produced, after 
which its Father retired to his own heaven, leaving the earth to the rule 
of Hyle. When he desired to make man, Hyle supplied the dust of which 
he was formed, into which the God of the Law breathed his own spirit. 
Adam became the adorer of Hyle, upon which the God of the Law informed 
him that, if he worshipped any other God but him, he should die. On 
this Adam withdrew from Hyle, and this last, becoming jealous, made a 
number of gods and filled the world with them. Hence all men were east 
into hell at death, until the Good God looked down from the highest 
heaven, had pity on them, and -sent MJ Son to deliver tfee " spirits in 
prison,'* which He did directly He went down into hel alter His own death. 
After Jesus had revealed Himself ,4& the Creator and received his eonf essioai 
of ignorance, Jesns\Ilm0ain!^ed Paoil and made Mm His apostib. It is 
extremely unlikely that this 8&xy should have formed part of Marcion's 
own teaching, although it may possibly have been told by some follower 
of his of Semitic blood, or, as Salmon suggests, by Oerdo. It is to be f ouud 
in Neumann's translation of lEfrnig in the Ze&sclvr. fur kist^ Theal. voL iv 
and in the Diet. Christian Biog. s.v. Marcion. 

218 Marcion [OH. 

is extremely unlikely in view of the unanimous assertion of the 
Fathers nearer to him in point of time that he taught the 
existence of two principles only ; and it is probable that the 
theory of three principles, if seriously advanced, must have been 
the work of one of his followers. Tertullian, whose sophistry in 
combating Marcion's teaching in this respect is here particularly 
apparent, points out, indeed, that if the Creator be held to be 
self-originated and not himself the creature of the Supreme 
God, there must be nine gods instead of two 1 ; but there is no 
reason to suppose that Marcion ever troubled himself about such 
dialectical subtleties. 

The case was different with Apelles, who was certainly later 
in date than Marcion and perhaps succeeded him in the head- 
ship of the sect, either immediately or at one remove 2 . 
According to Tertullian, Apelles left Eome for Alexandria 
where he no doubt came in contact with the Gnostic opinions 
there rife 3 . The slander that Tertullian sets on foot about him 
to the effect that he forsook his master's continence and was 
addicted to the company of women is unexpectedly refuted by 
Tertullian 3 s contemporary, Rhodo 4 . But Apelles must have 
come in contact in Alexandria with the followers of Valentinus 
and other Gnostic teachers, and their arguments no doubt 
compelled him to modify the strict dualism of his master. 
According to Rhodo, Apelles asserted that there was only one 
principle of all things, which would imply that the Demiurge 
was the creature of the Supreme God, and that Matter, instead 
of being essentially evil and independent, must have been also 
created by Him. Hippolytus, who was possibly a little later than 
Rhodo, amplifies this by the statement that Apelles held the 
Demiurge to be the fashioner of things coming into being 

1 Tertullian, adv. Marc. Bk i. c. 16. 

2 Epiphanius, Haer. XLTT. p. 688, Oehler, says Marcion was succeeded 
by Lucian, whom Apelles followed. Hippolytus, op. cit. Bk vii. cc. 37, 38, 
p. 393, Cruice, is probably the source of Epiphanius' statement; but he does 
not seem to have had any first-hand knowledge of the Marcionite heresy 
or its chiefs, and is not here so good a witness as Tertullian, or Irenaeus, 
who mentions neither Lucian nor Apelles. 

3 TertulMan, de Praeaaript. c. xxx. 

4 Eusehras, Hi& EccL Bk iv. c. 13. 

xi] Martian 219 

(subsequent to Mm) 1 , and that there was a third god or angel of 
a fiery nature who inspired Moses, and even a fourth who was 
the cause of evil. In this the Gnostic idea of correspondence 
or reflection of one world in another is manifest ; but it is evident 
that it also approaches more nearly than does the uncompro- 
mising dualism of Marcion himself to the teaching of the Catholic 
Church. The same tendency to compromise is evident in 
Apelles' willingness to use the books of both the Old and the 
New Testament, quoting with regard to them, if Epiphanius is 
to be believed, the apocryphal saying of Jesus " Be ye wise 
money-changers ! " to be found in, among other works, the 
Pistis Sophia?. Apelles seems also to have modified his master's 
teaching with regard to the body of Jesus, which was, he said, 
no phantasm, but a real body of flesh and blood assumed by 
Him on His descent to the earth, and returned by Him piece by 
piece on His Ascension to the different elements whence it was 
drawn. His indebtedness in this to the sources from which the 
author of the Pistis Sophia drew the same doctrine needs no 
demonstration. Yet there is no reason to assert that Apelles 
considered these " corrections " of Marcion's teaching in any 
way essential or binding on his followers. He seems, too, to 
have adopted one of the practices of the primitive Church in 
paying attention to the ecstatical visions of " prophets " of 
both sexes, his faith in the prophecies of a virgin named 
Philumene being the foundation of Tertullian's slander on his 
morals. There can be no doubt, however, that in spite of these 
tendencies, he remained in essentials a true follower of Marcion, 
and that like his master, he deprecated enquiry into insoluble 
problems. " One ought not/' he said, as Rhodo reports, " to 
examine doctrine, but everyone should be steadfast in the faith. 
Those who trust in Him that was crucified will be saved, if 
only they do good works 3 /' Herein he also, like Marcion 

ret yevvp*vcu B^pofytOS, O*p. C&. Bk VH. C. 37, p. 393, 
Cruice. ' 

2 Epiphanius, Haer* XLH. p. 694, Gehler. The same Logion or saying 
is also found in Clem. Alex. Strom. Bk L c. 28, in the Apostolical Constitutions, 
Bk n. c. 37, and in Clem. Horn. xvm. c, 20. 

3 Eusebius, Hist. EccL Bk v. c. 13. 

220 Mareion [CH. 

himself, seems to have anticipated by many centuries the 
teaching of the German Reformers. 

Other followers of Marcion there were who, thanks to our 
lack of information concerning them, are to us merely names. 
Thus Tatian, who was according to tradition a disciple of Justin 
Martyr but fell away from orthodoxy after his teacher's death, 
seems to have held a kind of intermediate position between the 
two great schools of heresy. While teaching, according to 
Irenaeus, a system of aeons not unlike that of Valentinus, he 
adopted in full the notions of Marcion as to abstinence from 
marriage, from the eating of flesh, and from the use of wine, 
and may have been the founder of a separate sect called 
Encratites 1 . We hear, too, of one Prepon, " an Assyrian " or 
native of Syria, a follower of Marcion, whom Hippolytus 
represents as teaching that Jesus Himself was intermediate 
between the good and evil deities and came down to earth to 
be freed from all evil 2 . Ehodo also speaks 3 of Potitus and 
Basiticus, followers of Marcion, who held fast to his doctrine of 
two principles, while Syneros, as he affirms, led a school which 
asserted that there were three " natures." Lucian also, who, 
according to Hippolytus and Epiphanius, came in point of 
time between Marcion and Apelles 4 , may have inclined to the 
same doctrine, and taught, unlike Marcion, that there would be 
a resurrection, not of the body nor of the soul, but of some part 
of man which he also defined as being of a " third nature 5 ." 

The conversion of Constantine put a violent end to any open 
propagation of the doctrines of Marcion or his successors* In 
the picturesque words of Eusebius " the lurking-places of the 
heretics were broken up by the Emperor's commands, and the 
savage beasts which they harboured were put to flight." 
Hence, he goes on to tell us, many of those who had been 
" deceived " crept secretly into the Church, and were ready to 

1 Irenaeus, Bk i. c. 26, 1, p. 220, Harvey. According to Hippolytus, 
op. tit. Bk vm. c. 16, p. 416, Cruice, he had been a disciple of Justin Martyr. 

2 Hippolytus, op. tit. Bk vn. c. 31, p. 382, Cruice. 
a Eusebius, op. et loc. tit. supra. 

4 Hippolytus, op. tit. Bk vn. c. 37, p, 393, Cruice ; Epiphanius, Haer 
XLHT. p. 688, Oehler. 

5 Tertullian, de Resurrectione, c. n. 

xi] Marcion 221 

secure their own safety by every sort of dissimulation 1 . This 
practice, as we have seen, had always been popular among the 
Gnostics properly so called, whose religion consisted in part in 
the knowledge of the formulas secretly imparted and preserved 
with jealous care from all but the initiated. Although there is 
no distinct proof that the same course was now adopted by the 
Marcionites, there is some reason for thinking that this was the 
case. The postponement of baptism noticed above must have 
early divided the members of the Marcionite churches into 
grades of which the largest was in an inferior position to the 
others. It is unlikely that these catechumens, who might 
witness but not share in the sacraments celebrated for their 
higher-placed brethren, j^Qjg^Jxam^ on 

hghajf.. jo~a~ f aifch^mt^ad^ 

The outbreak of the Arian controversy, which followed so 
closely on the conversion of Constantine, also carried within the 
Catholic Church those speculations about the Divine nature 
which had hitherto formed a fruitful source of dissension among 
the Marcionites themselves. With their synagogues and 
meeting-places taken away from them and handed over to the 
Catholics, many of them must have looked about for some 
tolerated community which they could join, and of all that thus 
offered themselves, the Catholic Church offered the greatest 
inducements to them. 

Yet another way was open to the convinced Marcionite who 
could not bring himself to reject Marcion's view that tho true 
purport of Jesus' teaching had been obscured by the additions 
of Judaizing apostles. The sect of the followers of Manes, 
who began to show themselves in the Western part of the 
Roman Empire shortly before Conatantine's conversion, pro- 
fessed a dualism more uncompromising than any that Mareion 
had taught, and coupled with it an organisation so skilful and 
effective that it was able for some ten eenteries longer to defy 
the efforts of the rest of Cfcpfte^Aopn for its suppression. In 
its division of all Matiieh&fcajis iato the two great classes of 
Perfect and Hearers it drew very close to Maraonite practice ; 
and the liberty whiek it flowed the Hearers of outwardly 

1 Etisebfes, Vita Qcmstawtim, Bk in. <x*. 64-66. 

222 Martian [OH. 

professing any faith they pleased must have enabled the 
Marcionite who joined it to keep those articles of his former 
creed most dear to him without coming into violent collision 
with either Church or State. Hence the tradition seems well 
founded which asserts that the majority of those Marcionites, 
who did not become reconciled with the Catholic Church after 
Constantine's alliance with it, joined the ranks of the Mani- 
chaeans, and so ceased to exist as a separate community 1 . 

The direct influence of Marcion's teaching upon that of the 
Catholic Church was probably very small. In spite of the 
efforts of recent writers to maintain the contrary 2 , it is difficult 
to see that this first attempt, honest and sincere as it un- 
doubtedly was, at the reformation of Christianity ever bore 
fruit of lasting value. Its main principle which, as we have 
seen, was the rejection of the Jewish scriptures and their bearing 
upon the Mission of Jesus, has been ignored, since Marcion's 
death as in his lifetime, by every other Church and sect pro- 
fessing Christian doctrines. His common-sense view, that the 
words of the Christian Bible must mean what their authors and 
their contemporaries would have naturally taken them to mean, 
and do not for the most part contain any deeply hidden or 
allegorical significance, was in like manner repudiated by the 
whole of Christendom, which, up to the latter part of the xixth 
century, continued to construe the greater part of its sacred 
books by trope and figure 3 . There remains then only the 
asceticism and austerity that Marcion practised which the 
orthodox could have borrowed from him. But, we have seen 
that the religious abstinence from procreation, and from the 
use of meat and wine, can be traced back to the appearance of 
Orphism in Greece some five hundred years before the Birth of 
Christ ; and if the Christian Church adopted, as it partly did, 

1 So Salmon in Diet. Christian Biog. and Harnack in Encyclopaedia 
Britannica, both s.v. Marcion. 

2 Hatch, H.L. p. 77, n. I, quoting Harnack. 

3 Hatch, op. tit. pp. 75, 76, shows that the allegorical method introduced 
by the Gnostics in order to avoid the difficulty of reconciling the Old 
Testament with the New was at first scornfully rejected, but was soon 
adopted by the orthodox, and was pursued by both Catholic and Protestant 
writers up to a few years ago. 

xi] Marcion 223 

these practices in a modified form, it was by way of inheritance 
from a source which was much nearer to it than Marcion's 
heresy. That many of Marcion's ideas have been revived in 
our own day is likely enough, and this opinion has been put 
forward with much skill and point by Dr Foakes- Jackson in 
his Hulsean Lectures. But this is a case of revival rather than 
of descent, and a reformer who has to wait some eighteen 
centuries before his ideas meet with acceptance, may well be 
held to have failed to influence after ages. 

Notwithstanding this, the heresy of Marcion will always have 
great interest for the student of the History of Religions. The 
success fugitive as such things go, but real enough for a 
time with which Marcion set up a Church over against that 
tremendous polity which has been called without much exaggera- 
tion " the very master-piece of human wisdom/' would be alone 
sufficient to make it precious in the eyes of those who are not 
blind to the romance of history. To archaeologists it is the 
more interesting that it is only in its direction that we are likely 
to receive in future much additional light upon the struggles of 
nascent Christianity with one category of its competitors. The 
very voluminous writings of the other Gnostics were destroyed 
by the triumphant Church with such minute care that the Coptic 
texts described in the last chapter form the only relics of this 
once enormous literature that have survived to us. The heathen 
religions which for some time disputed the ground with the 
Church have also left few traces partly for the same reason, 
and partly because the secrecy to which they pledged their 
votaries made it unlikely that many written documents of these 
faiths would survive. But the Antitheses of Marcion were in 
the hands of Photius in the xth century ; and, although it is 
dangerous to prophesy in such matters, it is by no means 
impossible that some lucky discovery within the borders of the 
Turkish Empire may yet give us a MS. that will enable us to 
reconstruct them. If that should ever be the case, we shall be 
in a far better position than we are now to decide whether the 
analogies between Marcionism and Protestantism that have been 
detected of late years are essential or superficial. 



FEW of us, perhaps, are inclined to recognize that, from its 
first establishment down to the Mahommedan Invasion of the 
vnth century, the Roman Empire found itself constantly in the 
presence of a bitter, determined, and often victorious enemy. 
Alexander had conquered but had not destroyed the Persians ; 
and, although the magic of the hero's personality held them 
faithful to Mm during his too brief life, he was no sooner dead 
than they hastened to prove that they had no intention of 
tamely giving up their nationality. Peucestas, the Royal body- 
guard who received the satrapy of Persia itself on his master's 
death, and was confirmed in it at the first shuffling of the cards 
at Triparadisus, found it expedient to adopt the Persian 
language and dress, with the result that his subjects conceived 
for him an affection only equal to that which they afterwards 
showed for Seleucus 1 . Later, when the rise of the Parthian 
power under Arsaces brought about the defeat of Seleucus II 
Callinicus, the opposition to European forms of government 
found a centre further north 2 , whence armies of lightly-equipped 
horsemen were able to raid up to the Eastern shores of the 
Mediterranean 3 . Thanks probably to the knowledge of this 
support in reserve, when Western Asia found the military power 
of the Greek kings becoming exhausted by internecine wars, 
she began to throw off the alien civilization that she had in 

1 Droysen, Hi#i. de VHelttniarm, t. n. pp. 33, 289. 

2 Op* ciL nj. pp. 351, 352; 439, 450. As Droysen points out, in this 
respect there was no practical difference between Parthian and Persian. 

3 As in B.C. 41, when the Parthians under Pacorus " rushed " Palestine. 
See Morrison, The Jews under the oma<ns 9 p. 58, lor authorities. Cf. 
Chapter v. Vol. L p. 101,, n. 3, supra. 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 225 

part acquired, and to return more and more to Persian ways 1 . 
When the Eomans in their turn set to work to eat up the 
enfeebled Greek kingdoms, they quickly found themselves in 
presence of a revived nationality as firmly held and nearly as 
aggressive as their own, and henceforth Eoman and Parthian 
were seldom at peace. The long struggle with Mithridates, who 
gave himself out as a descendant of Darius 2 , taught the Romans 
how strong was the reaction towards Persian nationality even 
in Asia Minor, and the overthrow of Crassus by the Parthians 
convinced his countrymen for a time of the folly of pushing 
their arms too far eastwards. 

With the establishment of the Empire, the antagonism 
between Borne and Persia became still more strongly marked, 
and a struggle commenced which lasted with little intermission 
until the foundation of the Mahommedan Caliphate, In this 
struggle the advantage was not always, as we should like to 
think, on the side of the Europeans. While Augustus reigus, 
Horace boasts, there is no occasion to dread the " dreadful 
Parthians 3 " ; but Corbulo is perpetually fighting them, and 
when Nero commits suicide, the legend immediately springs up 
that the tyrant is not dead, but has only betaken himself beyond 
the Euphrates to return with an army of Rome's most dreaded 
enemies to lay waste his rebellious country 4 . Towards the close 
of the first Christian century, Trajan, fired, according to Gibbon, 
by the example of Alexander, led an army into the East and 
achieved successes which enabled him to add to his titles that 
of Parthicus 5 ; but the whole of his Oriental conquests were 
given back by the prudent Hadrian on his succession to the 
throne. During the reign of Marcus Aurelius, Avidius Cassius 

1 This is shown by, among other things, the claims of the kings of 
Armenia, Cappadocia, and Pontus to be descended from the seven heroes 
who delivered Persia from the Magians after the death of Cambyses. See 
Droysen, op. tit. u* p. 519 ; m. pp* 82* 8& 

2 Droysen, op* tiL HT. p. 83* 

3 Horace, OMes 9 Bk TV. Ode & Ct his Gamen Secutore, 

4 Renan, L^AiM^m^L, pp. 317, 318, for authorities. A critical essay 
on the Neronic myth and its congeners is to be found in Dr Charles' Ascension 
of IsaMi, p. K sqq. 

* Gibbon, Decline cmd Fall (Biary's ed.), voL I. pp. 5, 205. 


226 The Worship of Mithras [OH. 

obtained some solid victories on the frontier ; but Macrinus is 
said to have bought off the Parthians with a bribe of nearly 
two millions of money. The rise of the Sassanian house and 
the retransfer of the leadership from the Parthians to their 
kinsmen in Persia proper brought about the reform of the Persian 
religion, and added another impulse to the increasing strength 
of Persian national feeling. Alexander Severus may have 
gained some successes in the field over Ardeshir or Artaxerxes, 
the restorer of the Persian monarchy 1 ; but in the reign of the 
last named king's son and successor Sapor, the capture of the 
Emperor Valerian with his whole army, and the subsequent 
ravaging of the Eoman provinces in Asia by the victors, showed 
the Republic how terrible was the might of the restored kingdom 2 . 
Aurelian, the conqueror of Palmyra., did much to restore the 
prestige of Roman arms in the East ; and although he was 
assassinated when on the march against Persia, the Emperor 
Carus shortly after led a successful expedition into the heart of 
the Persian kingdom 8 , In the reign of Diocletian, indeed, the 
Persians lost five provinces to the Romans 4 ; but under 
Constantine the Great the Romans were again vanquished in 
the field, and the Persians were only prevented by the heroic 
resistance of the fortified town of Nisibis and an incursion into 
their Eastern provinces of tribes from Central Asia from again 
overrunning the Asiatic possessions of Rome 5 . 

Henceforward, the history of the long contest between the 
two great empires " the eyes," as the Persian ambassador 
told Galerius, " of the civilized world 6 ," is the record of almost 
uninterrupted advance on the part of Persia and of continual 
retreat on the side of Rome. The patriotic enthusiasm of a 
Julian, and the military genius of a Belisarius, aided by the 
dynastic revolutions common among Oriental nations, might for 

1 Gibbon, op. tit. i. p. 209. Severus' victories are doubted by Gibbon ; 
and Prof. Bury apparently supports his author. 

* Op. tit. I. pp. 269, 270. Prof. Bury in his Appendix 17 points out 
that the whole history of Valerian's capture is still very obscure. 

5 Op. tit. L p. 340. 

* Op. tit* I. p. 375. See Prof. Bury's note 83 on page cited. 

6 Op. tit. n. pp. 228-231, 
6 Op. tit. L p. 373. 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 227 

a time arrest the progress of the conquering Persians ; but, bit 
by bit, the Asiatic provinces slipped out of the grasp of the 
European masters of Constantinople. In 603 A.D., it looked as 
if Persia were at length in the position to deliver the final blow 
in a war which had lasted for more than five centuries. By the 
invasion of Chosroes and his successive captures of Antioch, 
Jerusalem, and Egypt, it seemed as if the Persians had restored 
the world-empire of Cambyses and Darius ; but the Persians 
then discovered, as Xerxes had done a millennium earlier, 'how 
dangerous it is for Orientals, even when flushed by conquest, 
to press Europeans too far. The Roman Emperor Heraclius, 
who never before or afterwards gave much proof of military or 
political capacity, from his besieged capital of Constantinople 
collected an army with which he dashed into Persia in a manner 
worthy of Alexander himself. After six brilliant campaigns he 
dictated to the Persians a triumphant peace in the very heart 
of their empire 1 . A few years later, and its shattered and 
disorganized remains fell an easy prey to the Mahommedan 

The effect of this long rivalry might have been expected to 
produce in the Romans during its continuance a hearty dislike 
of the customs and institutions of the nation opposed to them ; 
but almost the exact contrary was the result. It may be argued 
that Rome's proved skill in government was in no small 
measure due to her ready adoption of all that seemed to her 
admirable in the nations that she overcame. Or it may be that 
the influence which the memory of Alexander exercised over all 
those who succeeded to his empire led them to imitate Mm in 
his assumption of Persian manners. The fact remains that, long 
before the division of the Roman Empire into East and West, 
the Romans displayed a taste for Oriental luxury and magnifi- 
cence which seems entirely at variance witli the simplicity and 
austerity of the republican conquerors of Carthage. It is 
hardly too much to say that while Alexanders conscious aim 
was to make Asia Greek, the Romans, on possessing themselves 
of his Asiatic conquests^ allowed themselves to become to a 

1 Gibbon, op. tit. V. pp. 7&sgf. Winwood Beade, Martyrdom of Man* 
pp. 249, 250, tells the story excellently and drama4aeaOy 

228 The Worship of Mithras [OH. 

great extent " Medized," and showed an unexpected admiration 
for the habits and culture of Alexander's Persian subjects. 

It may of course be said that this was in external matters 
only, and that the " Persian furniture " which excited Horace's 
wrath 1 might if it stood alone be looked upon as merely a 
passing fashion ; but the Court ceremonial introduced by 
Diocletian argues a steady tendency towards Persian customs 
and forms of government that must have been in operation for 
centuries. The household of a Julian Caesar was no differently 
arranged from that of a Eoman noble of the period, and his 
title of Prince of the Senate showed that he was only looked 
upon as the first of his equals. But Diocletian was in all respects 
but language a Persian emperor or Shah, and his style of " Lord 
and God/ 9 his diadem, his silken state dress, the elaborate 
ritual of his court, and the long hierarchy of its officials, were 
all designed to compel his subjects to recognize the fact 2 . As 
usual, the official form of religion in the Roman Empire had 
for some time given indications of the coming change in the 
form of government. The sun had always been the principal 
natural object worshipped by the Persians, and a high-priest 
of the Sun-God had sat upon the Imperial throne of Rome in 
the form of the miserable Heliogabalus. Only 33 years before 
Diocletian, Aurelian, son of another Sun-God's priestess and as 
virile and rugged as his predecessor was soft and effeminate, 
had also made the Sun-God the object of his special devotion 
and of an official worship. Hence Diocletian and his colleague 
Galerius were assured in advance of the approval of a large part 
of their subjects when they took the final plunge in 307 A.B., 
and proclaimed Mithras, " the Unconquered Sun-God," the 
Protector of their Empire 3 . 

In spite of this, however, it is very difficult to say how 

1 Horace, Odes, Bk I. Ode 38. 

2 Gibbon, op. tit. L p. 382. Of. Cumont, Religions Orientales, p. 171. 
Lactaxrtius, de. Mori. Persecutor, c. XXL, says that this was the conscious 
aim of Galerius. Although his authority in such a matter is suspect, there 
can be little doubt of the fact. 

, 3 The actual decree of the emperors is given in Curnont, Textes et 
M<mwnemte r t, n, Inscr. 307. The date should probably be 304 A.D. See 
n. on Table of Dates* YoL L, $wpra. 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 229 

Mithras originally became known to the Romans. Plutarch 1 
says indeed that his cult was first introduced by the Cilician 
pirates who were put down by Pompey 1 . This is not likely to 
be literally true ; for the summary methods adopted by these 
sea-robbers towards their Eoman prisoners hardly gave much 
time for proselytism, while most of the pirates whom Pompey 
spared at the close of his successful operations he deported to 
Achaea, which was one of the few places within the Empire 
where the Mithraic faith did not afterwards show itself. What 
Plutarch's story probably means is that the worship of Mithras 
first came to Rome from Asia Minor, and there are many facts 
which go to confirm this. M. Cumont, the historian of Mithra- 
ism, has shown that, long before the Romans set foot in Asia, 
there were many colonies of emigrants from Persia who with 
their magi or priests had settled in Asia Minor, including in that 
phrase Galatia, Phrygia, Lydia, and probably Cilicia 2 . When 
Rome began to absorb these provinces, slaves, prisoners, and 
merchants from them would naturally find their way to Rome, 
and in time would no doubt draw together for the worship of 
their national deities in the way that we have seen pursued 
by the worshippers of the Alexandrian Isis and the Jewish 
exiles. The magi of Asia Minor were great supporters of 
Mithridates, and the Mithridatic wars were no doubt responsible 
for a large number of these immigrants. 

Once introduced, however, the worship of -Mithras spread 
like wild-fire. The legions from the first took kindly to it, and 
this is the less surprising when we find that many of them 
were recruited under the earliest emperors in Anatolian states 
like Commagene, where the cult was, if not indigenous, yet of 
very early growth 3 . Moreover the wars of the Romans against 
the Persians kept them constantly in the border provinces of the 
two empires, where the native populations not infrequently 
changed masters. The enemy's town that the legions besieged 
one year might therefore give them a friendly reception the next ; 
and there was thus abundant opportunity for the acquaintance 

1 Plutarch, Vit Pomp. c. XXIF. 

* Gumont, SeL Or. pp. 167, 168; 173, 174; id. T. d, M. I* pp. 9, 10. 
Cf. P.S.B.A. 1912, pp. 127, 128, 3 Camont, T. et M. i. . 24=7. 

230 The Worship of Mithras [OH. 

of both sides with each others 5 customs. When the Roman troops 
marched back to Europe, as was constantly the case during the 
civil wars which broke out on the downfall of the Julian house, 
they took back with them the worship of the new god whom they 
had adopted, and he thus became known through almost the 
whole of the Roman Empire 1 . " From the shores of the 
Euxine to the north of Brittany and to the fringe of the Sahara 2 /' 
as M. Cumont says, its monuments abound, and, he might have 
added, they have been met with also in the Egyptian Delta, in 
Babylon, and on the northern frontiers of India. In our own 
barbarous country we have found them not only in London and 
York, but as far west as Gloucester and Chester and as far 
north as Carlisle and Newcastle 3 . The Balkan countries, like 
Italy, Germany, Southern France, and Spain, are full of them ; 
but there was one part of the Roman Empire into which they 
did not penetrate freely. This was Greece, where the memories of 
the Persian Wars long survived the independence of the country, 
and where the descendants of those who fought at Salamis, 
Marathon, and Thermopylae would have nothing to do with a 
god coming from the invaders' fatherland. It is only very lately 
that the remains of Mithras-worship have been discovered at 
the Piraeus and at Patras, in circumstances which show pretty 
clearly that it was there practised only by foreigners 4 . 

Notwithstanding this popularity, it is not easy to say exactly 
what god Mithras 5 European worshippers considered him to be. 
If length of ancestry went for anything in such matters, he 
might indeed claim a greater antiquity than any deity of the 
later Roman Pantheon, with the single exception of the Alexan- 
drian gods. Mithras was certainly worshipped in Vedic India, 
where his name of Mitra constantly occurs in the sacred texts 
as the " shining one," meaning apparently the material sun 5 . 
He is there invoked in company with Varuna, generally con- 

1 Dill, Roman Society from Nero to Marcus Aurelius, pp. 593-597. 

8 Cumont, T~ et M. i. p. 248. 

8 For the list see Cumont, T. et M. i. p. 258, n, 7. He thinks the 
worship was first introduced here by the legions from Germany, 

4 Avezau and Picard, ft Bas-relief Mithriaque," R.H.R. t. LXIV. (Sept, 
Oct. 191 1), pp. 17$ s^. 

* Cumont, T. et M. . L p. 223, n. 2. 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 231 

sidered the god of the sky, and therefore according to some, 
the prototype of the Greek Zeus and the Latin Jupiter 1 . His 
appearance in a similar connection in the sacred books of the 
Persians led the founders of the comparative study of religion 
to think that he must have been one of the primitive gods of 
their hypothetical Aryan race, and that his worship must go 
back to the imaginary time when Persians and Hindus dwelt 
side by side in the plains of Cashmere. But this theory is 
giving way before proof that the original home of the Indo- 
European race was Europe, and has been badly shaken by the 
discovery at Boghaz Keui of tablets showing that the gods 
Mithra and Varuna were gods of the Mitannians or Hittites 2 at 
some date earlier than 1500 B.C., and therefore long before the 
appearance of the Persians in history. If the worship of 
Mithras were not indigenous in Western Asia, it may therefore 
well have come there independently of the Persians 3 . 

There is no doubt, however, that the roots of Mithras- 
worship went very far down into the Persian religion. In the 
Yashts or hymns which are the earliest evidence of primitive 
Iranian beliefs, Mithra to use the Avestic spelling of his name 
frequently appears, not indeed as the material sun, but as the 
" genius of the heavenly light " which lightens the whole 
universe 4 and is theja&stJ^^ 
Nature. 5/GtEfai" is not here, however, theSupreme Being, 
^or "even the highest among the gods benevolent to man. This 
last place is occupied in the Zend Avesta by Ahura Mazda, 

1 Herodotus, Bk I. c. 131. Cf. F. Max Miiller, Hibbert Lectures, p. 276. 
The similarity of name between Varuna and the Greek Ouranos is fairly 
obvious. Prof. Hope Moulton, Early Zoroastrianism, 1913, pp. 391, 392, n. 3, 
argues that the Persian god of the sky was called Dyaush or Zeus, 

2 Certainly of the Mitannians, who, according to Prof. Hugo Winckler, 
were one of the two main branches of the Hittites, and a Syrian people. 
See his report on Excavations at Boghaz Keui in the Mittetiungen of the 
Deutsche Orient-Gesellschaft for 1907. The text is given in the J.R.A..8. 
for 1910, pp. 723 $qq. 

3 If we accept the latest theory which makes Russia, the original home 
of the Aryan race (see Zaborowski, Les Peuphs Aryans tfAsie et d? Europe 
Paris, 1908, p. 424) it may have even had a European origin. 

* Cumont, T. et M. i. p. 225, 

232 The Worship of Mithras [CH. 

" the omniscient lord," who appears to be the Persian form of 
Varuna, the god of the sky whom we have seen associated with 
Mitra in the Vedas 1 . Nor is Mithras in the Zend Avesta one 
of the six Amshaspands, the deified abstractions or personified 
attributes of Ahura Mazda, who, in the later developments of 
the Persian religion, occupy towards him much the same position 
that the " Roots " of Simon Magus and the Aeons of the 
Pleroma among the Gnostics do towards the Boundless Power 
or the Ineffable Bythos 2 . In the later Avestic literature, he 
appears as the chief of the Izeds or Yazatas, a race of genii 
created by Ahura Mazda, who are the protectors of his universe 
and the helpers of mankind in their warfare against the powers 
of darkness 3 . In the latest as in the earliest Persian view of 
the personality of Mithras, therefore, it is plain that he occupies 
an intermediate position between the Creator and man. 

It is not, however, in the religion associated with the name 
of Zoroaster that we must look for the origin of Mithraism. 
The date of the sacred books of Mazdeism and the historical 
existence of Zoroaster himself have recently been brought down 
to as late as the vnth century B.C. 4 and the appearance in Asia 
of the Persian tribes as conquerors, whereas Mithras was, as 
we have seen, worshipped in Asia Minor nearly a millennium 
earlier. Moreover, the strict dualism which set Ahriman, the 
god of darkness and evil, in eternal and perhaps equal opposition 
to Ormuzd, the god of light and goodness, seems to have been 
unknown before the Sassanid reform in 226 A.B., by which time 
the worship of Mithxas in Europe was at its apogee 5 . M. 
Cumont is, therefore, doubtless right when he thinks that 
Mithraism was derived not from Mazdeism, but from Magism 

1 James Dannesteter, Essais Orimtawc, Paris, 1883, p. 113. 
8 Casarteftl, La Philosophic Rdigieu&e du Masddisme $ous les'Sa&sanides, 
pp. 17, 1& 3 Q pf fa p> 73. 

4 66O-583 B.O. See A V. Williams Jackson, Zoroaster, N.Y. 1901, 
p. 15 and Appx n. and HL Of. D. Menant, "Parsis et Parsisme," 
au Mus^e CMmet (BibL de Vulgarisation), 1904, t. xvi. 

p, Le Zewd AmsAe (Ammles dtt Mus^e Gtiimet), Paris, 
p. xrra, for dale, Ws% Paktcm Texts, pt L (Sacred Books of the East), 
pp, brrai-lxEc ; pi n, p. xxiv. d. Hope MOTtltoa, op. c& pp, 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 233 

or the religion of the Magi, the tribe of Medes whose domination 
was put an end to by Darius the son of Hystaspes, and whose 
name was afterwards given to a priestly caste and has passed 
into our own language as the root of the word c< magic." 

That these Magi practised a religion different from that 
taught in the Avestic literature is plain enough. The romantic 
story told by Herodotus of the Magian who seized the throne 
of Persia during Cambyses' absence in Egypt on the pretence 
that he was the king's brother whom Cambyses had privily put 
to death 1 , is fully confirmed by Darius 5 trilingual inscription on 
the Kock of Behistun, first copied and deciphered by Sir Henry 
Kawlinson and lately published in elaborate form by the British 
Museum 2 . Darius here narrates how " a certain man, a Magian, 
Gaumata by name.., lied unto the people" (saying) 'I am 
Smerdis, the son of Cyrus, the brother of Cambyses.' Then 
all the people revolted from Cambyses and went over to him, 
even Persia and Media and the other provinces." Darius goes 
on to record that '* thereupon Cambyses died by his own hand 3 /' 
that.the seven Persian nobles overthrew the pretender much 
in the way described by Herodotus, and that " I rebuilt the 
temples of the gods, which that G-aumata, the Magian, had 
destroyed, I restored that which had been taken away as it 
was in the days of old 4 /' This he tells us he did " by the grace 
of Ahura Mazda/' and that by this grace he always acted. 
The memory of these events was kept up by the festival of the 
Magophonia or Massacre of the Magi which was yearly cele- 
brated in Persia and during which no Magus dared show himself 
in the streets 5 . Darius' words show that there was a religious 
as well as a dynastic side to the Magian revolt, though whether 
the false Smerdis restored the old worship of the land, which 
he found in danger of being supplanted by Zoroastrianism or 
the worship of AKura Mazda, may stffl be doubtful* la any 
event, the reformation or connter-refonnatiou made by Darius 

1 Herodotus, Bk HL c* 61 sqg. 

2 Tfie Sctdptwes cvnd Insowpfaons cflk&rm& the Qrwb at Behistwn, British 
Miiseum Publications, 1907. 

* Op. oiL pp. 8, $, * Op. c& p. 14. 

* Maspsro r Hist. Anvienne de& Pwtqdes de FOneait Claa&tque* Paris, 1890, 
t. m. p. 674 ; Eawfescaa, History of H&rodotm* 1862, vaL n. p. 458. 

234 The Worship of Mithras [GEL 

did not succeed in entirely uprooting the old Magian faith., for 
Herodotus speaks of the Magi as still being in his time the 
priestly caste among the Persians, and as acting as diviners and 
sacrifices to the Achaemenian kings who ruled Persia up to 
Alexander's Conquest 1 . 

The Magian religion as it appears in Herodotus and other 
Greek authors, however, seems to have shown none of the 
hostility to the powers of darkness so apparent in the religious 
literature collected by the Sassanian kings. " The whole 
circuit of the firmament " was, according to Herodotus, their 
greatest god or Zeus ; and he says that they also " sacrifice to 
the sun and moon, to the earth, to fire and water, and to the 
winds " ; but that " they do not, like the Greeks, believe the 
gods to have the same nature as men 2 .'* He also tells us that 
later they borrowed from the Arabians and the Assyrians the 
worship of a goddess whom he calls Mitra, and although he is 
probably wrong as to the origin and sex of this deity, his evidence 
shows that Semitic admixture counted for something in the 
Magian worship. In other respects, the Magian seems to have 
been a primitive faith given up to the worship of the powers 
of nature or elements, which it did not personify in the 
anthropomorphic manner of either the Semites or the Greeks, 
and to have paid little attention to public ceremonies or ritual. 
It follows therefore that, like the religions of many uncivilized 
people of the present day, it would draw no very sharp dis- 
tinction between good and evil gods, and would be as ready to 
propitiate or make use of the evil, that is those hostile to man, 
as the good or benevolent. Plutarch, who describes the religion 
of the Magi more than three centuries after Herodotus, when 
the name of Zoroaster the Persian prophet and the dualistic 
belief favoured by his teaching had long been popularly known 
in the West, says that the Magi of his time held Mithras to be 
the u Mediator " or intermediary between " Oromazes " or Light 
on the one hand, and " Areimanios " or Darkness and Ignorance 
on the other, and that they used to make bloody sacrifices 
to the last-named in a place where the sun never comes 3 . 

1 Herodotus, Bk t e. 140 ; vn. e. 113. s Op. <L Bfc L c. 131. 


xn] The Worship of Mithras 235 

It is easy to see how such a cult, without the control of public 
ceremonies and with its unabashed traffic with the powers of 
evil, would be likely to degenerate into compulsion or magic* 

There was, however, another popular superstition or belief 
which, about the time when Mithraism made its appearance in 
Europe, had spread itself over Western Asia. This was the 
idea that the positions and changes of the heavenly bodies 
exercise an influence over the affairs of the world and the lot 
both of kingdoms and individual men. It probably began in 
Babylonia, where the inhabitants had from Sumerian times 
shown themselves great observers of the stars, and had been 
accustomed to record the omens that they drew from their 
motions for the guidance of the kings 1 . This kind of divination 
or astrology to call it by a familiar name received a great 
impulse after Alexander's Conquest, in the first place from the 
break up of the Euphratean priestly colleges before referred to, 
and the driving out of the lesser priests therein to get their own 
living, and then from the fact that the scientific enquiry and 
mathematical genius of the Greeks had made the calculation of 
the positions of the heavenly bodies at any given date and hour 
a fairly simple matter to be determined without direct observa- 
tion 2 . It was probably no mere coincidence that the Chaldaei 
and the Mathematici, as the astrologers called themselves, 
should have swarmed at Rome under just those emperors in 
whose reigns Mithraism began to push itself to the front 3 . 

While we may be sure that these factors, the religion of the 
Magi, the practice of magic, and the astrological art, all counted 
in the composition of the worship of Mithras, we yet know but 
very little of its tenets. No work has come down to us from 
any devotee of Mithras which will give us the same light on 
the way his worshippers regarded Mm that the romance of 

1 As in the book called "Tbe BhuBjua^oa of Bel " foraid in Assor- 
banipaTs Libra? at Knytmjik. See Sayoe* "Astronomy and Astrology 
of the aneient Babylonians and Assyrians/' T.8.B.A. vol. KL pp. 146 sqq. 
Of. Chapter HI, vol. L p. 114 supra for examples. 

* That tables were actually used for this purpose, was shown in the 
PaM Mall Magazine for August, 1896 and with more detail in Star-Lore 
for April, 1897. 

* Dffl, Nero to Marcus Aurdins, pp. 449, 450, lor authorities. 

236 The Worship of Mithras [CH. 

Apuleius and the encomium of Aelius Aristides have cast on 
the mental attitude of the devotees of the Alexandrian cult. 
The extensive books of Eubulus and Pallas on Mithras and the 
history of his worship, which Porphyry tells us were estant from 
the reign of Hadrian down to his own time 1 , are entirely lost, 
and our only source of information, except a very few scattered 
notices in the Fathers and in profane writers like the Emperor 
Julian and Porphyry himself, are the sculptures and inscriptions 
which have been found in his ruined chapels. These texts and 
monuments the scholarly care of M. Cumont has gathered into 
two large volumes, which will always remain the chief source 
from which later enquirers must draw their materials 2 . From 
their study he comes to the conclusion that, in the religion of 
Mithras., there figured above him the Mazdean gods of good and 
evil respectively called in the Zend Avesta Ahura Mazda and 
Angro Mainyus, or in more familiar language, Orrauzd and Ahri- 
man. Behind and above these again, he would place a Supreme 
Being caEed. Zervan Akerene or Boundless Time, who seems to 
be without attributes or qualities, and to have acted only as the 
progenitor of the opposing couple. This is at first sight very 
probable,' because the Orphic doctrine, which, as we have seen, 
made Cixronos or Time the progenitor of all the gods, was widely 
spread in Asia Minor before Alexander's Conquest, and the 
Persian colonies formed there under his successors must there- 
fore have come in frequent contact with this most accommoda- 
ting of schools 3 . Traditions of a sect of Zervanists in Western 
Asia, who taught that all things came from Infinite Time, are 
also to be found 4 . But most of these are recorded after 
Mithraism had become extinct ; and M. Cumont's proofs of the 

1 Circa 270 A.D. See Cumont, T. et M. L p. 26. 

2 See Chap, m, Vol. t. p. 103, n. 4, supra. 

3 See Ckap. IV, Vol. L p. 123 supra. 

* Cumemt, T. et M. i. pp. 19-20, relies on a passage quoted by 
Bamaseius from a certain Hudemos who may or may not be Eudemos of 
Erodes (Alejtander's contemporary) that, " of the Magi and aJl the warrior 
[or Meeie; &p*t&v} race some call the intelligible " \i.e, t&afc which can be 
appreitemcled by tbe mind oaaly aEwI not by the senses] " and united 
tmiverse ^opos (piaoe), whSe o&ers o them call it Chronos (Time), and 
that from tfeisiaiim^ demon; 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 237 

existence of this dogma in the European religion of Mithras can 
be reduced on final analysis to a quotation from a treatise by 
Theodore, the Christian bishop of Mopsuestia who died in 
428 A.D. ? directed, as it would seem, against the " Magi " of 
his time, in which he admits that their dogmas had never been 
written, and that the sectaries in question, whom he calls 
Magusaeans, said " sometimes one thing and deceived them- 
selves, and sometimes another and deceived the ignorant 1 . 95 
M. Cumont's identification of the lion-headed statue often found 
in Mithraic chapels with the Supreme God of the system has 
been shown elsewhere to be open to serious question, and the 
figure itself to he susceptible of another interpretation than 
that which he would put upon it 2 . On the whole, therefore^ 
while M. Cumont's mastery of his subject makes it very 
dangerous to differ from Mm, it seems that his theory of a 
Boundless Time as the pinnacle of the Mithraist pantheon 
cannot be considered as proved. 

Whether Ormuzd and Ahriman played any important part 
in the Roman worship of Mithras is also doubtful. With regard 
to the first-named, both Greeks and Romans knew him well and 
identified him unhesitatingly with Zeus and Jupiter 3 . Hence 
we should expect to find him, if represented at all on the 
Mithraic sculptures, with the well-known features, the thunder- 
bolt, and the eagle, which long before this time had become the 
conventional attributes of the Roman as well as of the Homeric 
father of gods and men. We are not entirely disappointed, for 
we find in a bas-relief formerly in a chapel of Mithras at Sisset 

or as some say, prior to these, Light and Darkness." " Both the one and 
the otter school therefore," Damascius goes o% " after the uu*Jivjded 
Nature, make the double series of the higher powers distinct from one 
another, of one of which they make Oromasdes the leader, and of the 
other Arimanjns." It seems evident from the above words, that only a 
certain sect of the Magi in the time of this Eudemos put Time at the head 
of their pantheon. Cf, Cory's Anctewt Fragments, 18S2, pp. $18, 319. 

1 Cumont, T.etM*** p. 10. 

a See " The lion-headed God of the Mithraic Mysteries," P.8.B.A. 
1912, pp. 125-142, and p. 251 wtfnsL 

* Dannesteter, OrmwA & Afaiman, Paris, 1877, p* 1, quoting a lost 
book of Aristotle mentioned by Diogenes Laertitis, 

238 The Worship of Mithras [OH. 

(the ancient Sissia in Pannonia) and now in the Museum at 
Agram, the bull-slaying scene in which Mithras figures and 
which will be presently described, surmounted by an arch on 
which is ranged Jupiter seated on his throne, grasping the 
thunderbolt, wielding the sceptre, and occupying the place of 
honour in a group of gods among whom we may distinguish 
Mars and Mercury 1 . In another bas-relief of the same scene, 
now at the Eudolfinum in Klagenfurt, he is depicted in a similar 
position in an assembly of the gods, which although much 
mutilated seems to show Zeus or Jupiter in the centre with 
Hera or Juno by his side 2 . But the most conclusive of these 
monuments is the great bas-relief found at Osterburken in the 
Odenwald, wherein the arch surmounting the usual bull-slaying 
scene contains an assembly of twelve gods with Zeus in the 
centre armed with thunderbolt and sceptre, while around him 
are grouped Apollo, Ares, Heracles, Hera, Athena, Aphrodite, 
Nike, Poseidon, Artemis, Hades, and perhaps Persephone 3 . 
When by the side of these we put the many inscriptions left by 
the legionaries to " the holy gods of the fatherland, to Jupiter 
best and greatest, and to the Unconquered One" ; to " Jupiter 
best and greatest, and to the divine Sun, the Unconquered Sun/' 
and other well-known names of Mithras, there can be no doubt 
that his worshippers used to adore him together with the head 
of the Roman Pantheon, and that they considered Mithras in 
some way the subordinate of or inferior to Jupiter 4 . Yet there 

1 Cumont, T. et M. n. p. 326 and Pig. 193. 

2 Op. tit. n. p. 336, reproduced in the article in the P.8.B.A. quoted inn. 2, 
p. 237 supra. In the collection of busts of the gods on the arch surrounding 
the Tauroctony at Bologna, the head of Zeus wearing the modius of Serapis 
appears with sir others who, reading from left to right, are the Sun, Saturn, 
Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars and the Moon. Although Jupiter here 
occupies the centre and place of honour, it is probable that both he and the 
otter gods are here merely symbols of the planets. See Cumont, op. dt. 
n. p. 261 and Kg. 99. 

3 Op. cvt. EL p. 349, and PL vi. So in the bas-relief of Sarrebourg, 
unfortoBately much mutilated (03?. tit. n. p. 514), a similar assembly of 
gods mdodes Beptoe, Bacchus, and Vulcan, who are certainly not gods 
of the planets. 

4 For these uiscriptkms^ see dumonfc, op. ctfc. t. H., Inseription& 80 
(p. 107), 129 (pw 1 15), 31g (p, 14}, 386 (p, 149)* 522 (pu 167), and 47O (p. 160). 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 239 

is nothing to show that the Mitfcraists as such identified in any 
way this Jupiter Optimus Maximus with the Persian Ahura 
Mazda, Oromasdes, or Ormuzd, or that they ever knew him by 
any of these outlandish names. 

The case is different with Ormuzd's enemy Ahriman, who 
evidently was known by his Persian name to the Roman 
worshippers of Mithras. In the Vatican can be seen a triangular 
marble altar dedicated by a darissimus named Agrestius who 
was a high-priest of Mithras, to " the god ArimaniusV* and 
altars with similar inscriptions have been found at Buda-Pesth 2 . 
At a Mithraic chapel in York also, there was found a statue, now 
in the Museum of the Philosophical Society in that city, which 
bears an inscription to the same god Arimanius 3 . There is 
therefore fairly clear evidence that the Mithraists recognized 
Ahriman under his Persian name, and that they sacrificed to 
him, as Plutarch said the " magi " of his time did to the god 
whom he calls Hades 4 , and this agrees with Herodotus' state- 
ment that the Persians used to do the same to " the god who is 
said to be beneath the earth 5 ." Although this gave occasion 
to the Christian Fathers to accuse the Mithraists of worshipping 
the devil, we are not thereby bound to conclude that they 
looked upon Arimanius as an essentially evil being. It seems 
more probable that they considered him, as the Greeks did their 
Hades or Pluto, as a chthonian or subterranean power ruling over 
a place of darkness and discomfort, where there were punish- 
ments indeed, but not as a deity insusceptible of propitiation by 
sacrifice 6 , or compulsion by other means such as magic arts 7 . It 

1 Op. c& n. p. 98. 2 Op. oiL IL jx HI. 

3 Op. c& n. pp. 160, 392, 393, and article in P.S.B.A. quoted IB n. 2, 
p. 237 supra. 

4 Plutarch, de Is. et Os. c. XLTO. GL Origen, adv. Ods. Bk I. c. 60. 
6 Herodotus. Bkvu. c. 114. 

6 dem. Alex. Strom. Bk v. c. 11, says Zens is t&e same as Hades. He 
quotes Euripides as authority for the statement, bat I do not know the 
play in which it appears. He also, op, riL Bk v. c. 14, quotes Xenoerates 
as saying that there is an " Upper and Lower " Zeus. 

7 Heracles, of course, applied compulsion to Hades. For the magic 
compulsion of the same power, see the Magic Papyrus of the BibL Nat. in 
Wessety's (hiech* Zantwrpwp. p, 38. 

240 The Worship of Mithras [CEL 

has been shown elsewhere that his image in a form which fairly 
represents his attributes in this capacity appears with some 
frequency in the Mithraic chapels, where a certain amount of 
mystery attached to its exhibition 1 . It seems to follow from 
these considerations that the worshippers of Mithras attributed 
to their special god no inferiority to Ahriman as M. Cumont's- 
argument supposes, and that the only power whom they ac- 
knowledged as higher than Mithras himself was the Roman 
equivalent of OrmiLzd, the Jupiter Optimus Maximus adored 
throughout the Eoman Empire of their time as the head of the 
Pantheon 2 . 

The connection of Mithras with the sun is also by no means 
easy to unravel. The Vedic Mitra was, as we have seen, 
originally the material sun itself, and the many hundreds of 
votive inscriptions left by the worshippers of Mithras to " the 
unconquered Sun Mithras 3 ," to the unconquered solar divinity 
(numen) Mithras 4 , to the unconquered Sun-God (deus) Mithra 6 , 
and allusions in them to the priests (sacerdotes), worshippers 
(cfattiores), and temples (templum) of the same deity leave no 
doubt open that he was in Roman times a sun-god 6 . Yet this 
do^s not necessarily mean that he was actually the day-star 
visible to mankind, and the Greeks knew well enough how to 
distinguish between Apollo the god of light who was once at 
any rate a sun-god, and Helios the Sun itself 7 . On the Mithraic 
sculptures, we frequently see the unmistakable figure of Mithras 
riding in the chariot of the Sun-God driven by the divinity with 
long hair and a rayed nimbus, whom we know to be this Helios 
or Ms Roman equivalent, going through some ceremony of conse- 
cration with him, receiving messages from him, and seated side 
by side with him at a banquet which is evidently a ritual feast. 
M. Cumont explains this by the theory that Mithras, while in 

1 P.S.E.A. 1912, p. 137, for authorities. 

* Jean Reville, La Religion & Rome sous ks S&xres, Paris, 1886, p. 30. 
8 Ccunont, T. cf M. rr. p. 91, no. 2 ; p, 99 ? nos. SO, 34 ; pL 102, no. 49; 

p. 103, B*X 5& 

* #2*. c& n. p, 99; ao. 29. 

* Op. o& E. pw 106, no. 62; p. 116, no. 131. 

* Op. dL H; pt 90, D**J. 17, 20; p> 117, BO, 139; w 145, no. 354. 


xn] The Worship of Mithras 241 

Persia and in the earliest Aryan traditions the genius of the 
celestial light only 1 , no sooner passed into Semitic countries 
and became affected by the astrological theories of the Chal- 
daeans, than he was identified with their sun-god Shamash 2 , 
and this seems as reasonable a theory as can be devised. Another 
way of accounting for what he calls the " at first sight contra- 
dictory proposition " that Mithras at once was and was not the 
sun 3 , is to suppose that while the Mithraists wished those who 
did not belong to their faith to believe that they themselves 
worshipped the visible luminary, they yet instructed their 
votaries in private that he was a deity superior to it and in fact 
the power behind it. As we shall see, the two theories are by 
no means irreconcilable, although absolute proof of neither can 
yet be offered. 

One can speak with more certainty about the Legend or 
mythical history of Mithras which M. Cumont has contrived 
with rare acumen to reconstruct from the monuments found in 
his chapels. It is comprised in eleven or twelve scenes or 
tableaux which we will take in their order 4 . We first see the 
birth of the god, not from the head of his father Zeus like Athena, 
or from his thigh like Dionysos, but from a rock, which explains 
his epithet of " Petrogenes" or rock-born. The god is represented 
in this scene as struggling from the rock in which he is embedded 
below the waist, and always uplifts in one hand a broad knife 
of which we shall afterwards see him make use, and in the other 
a lighted torch 5 . He is here represented as a boy, and wears the 
Phrygian cap or so-called cap of liberty which is his distinctive 
attribute, while the torch is doubtless, as H. Cumoat surmises, 
symbolical of the light which he is bringing into the world 6 . 
The rock is sometimes encircled by the folds of a large serpent, 
probably here as elsewhere a symbol of the earth, and is in the 

1 Gmnont, T. & M. I. p. 2^5, and n. 1 ; cL Ba^naesteter, Qrmvsd et 
AJvriman 9 p. 65. 

2 Cumont, T. et M. L<p. 1. * Op. oU. I. p. 300. 

4 Op. <&L i. pp. 304-306. ThebesfcaiMJ clearest example of these scenes 
is perhaps that given in tibe bas-reMefs surrounding the T&iiroetony in the 
ffithraeum at Osterburken. See op. tit. u. p, 350 (Monument 246). 

* Op. tit. U. Kg. 3 of Mon. 246 (p. 350). 

8 Op. tit. I. pp. 159 sqq. 
L n, 36 

242 The Worship of Mithras [CH. 

Mithraic chapel discovered at Housesteads in Northumberland 
represented in the form of an egg, the upper part remaining on 
the head of the nascent god like an egg-shell on that of a newly- 
hatched chicken 1 . This is probably due to some confusion or 
identification with the Orphic legend of the First-born or Phanes 
who sprang from the cosmic egg ; but the central idea of the 
rock-birth seems to be that of the spark, hidden as it were in 
the stone and leaping forth when struck. In one or two 
examples of the scene, the miraculous birth is watched by a 
shepherd or shepherds, which leads M. Cumont to draw a 
parallel between this and the Adoration of the Shepherds at 
the Birth of Christ. 

. The next two scenes are more diffcult to interpret with 
anything approaching certainty. In one of them 2 , Mithras is 
represented as standing upright before a tree from which he 
cuts or tears a large branch bearing leaves and fruit. He is 
here naked, save for the distinctive cap ; but immediately 
after, he is seen emerging from the leafage fully clothed in 
Oriental dxess. In the next scene the relative order of the 
scenes seems settled by the places they most often occupy on 
different examples of the same sculptures 3 Mithras in the 
Phrygian cap, Persian trousers, and flowing mantle generally 
worn by him, kneels on one knee drawing a bow, the arrows 
from which strike a rock in the distance and draw from it a 
stream of water which a kneeling man receives in his hands 
and lifts to his mouth 4 . Several variants of this scene exist, 
in one of which a suppliant is kneeling before the archer-god 
and raising his hands towards him as if in prayer ; while in 
another, the rock may well be a cloud. M. Cumont can only 
suggest with regard to these scenes, that the first may be an 
allusion to the Fall of Man and his subsequently clothing 
himself with leaves as described in the Book of Genesis, and 

op. c&- n. p. 395, and Fig. 315. 
a Op- G& EL p. 350, f (2) of Osterbnrken. 
9 Ife is Bot invariable, as th sculptor was sometimes evidently governed 

* Op.ctn.|>u350^f(5}olOsterbwkeik CL Mon. 245, PL v (Neoseabeim) 
and Moa. 251* H. vn (He<ltenbeim). 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 243 

that the second scene may depict a prolonged drought upon 
earth, in which man prays to Mithras and is delivered by the 
god's miraculous production of rain. He admits, however, that 
this is pure conjecture, and that he knows no Indian, Persian, 
or Chaldaean legend or myth to which the scenes in question 
can be certainly attached. It seems therefore useless to discuss 
them further here. 

Passing on, we come to a series of scenes, the meaning of 
which is more easily intelligible. In all of these a bull plays 
a principal part. It is abundantly clear that this bull is no 
terrestrial creature, but is the Goshurun or Heavenly Bull of the 
Zend Avesta, from whose death come forth not only man, but 
beasts, trees, and all the fruits of the earth 1 . In the Mithraic 
sculptures, we see the Bull first sailing over the waters in a 
cup-shaped boat 2 like the coracles still used on the Euphrates, 
or escaping from a burning stable to which Mithras and a 
companion have set fire 3 . Then he is depicted grazing peaceably 
or raising his head now and then as if alarmed by some sudden 
noise 4 . Next he is chased by Mithras, who seizes him by the 
horns, mounts him 5 , and after a furious gallop casts him over 
his shoulders, generally holding him by the hind legs so that 
the horned head dangles to the ground 6 . In this position, he 
is taken into the cave which forms the chapel of Mithras. 

Here, if the order in the most complete monuments be 
followed, we break off to enter upon another set of scenes which 

* West, PaJdavi Texts, Pt 1, S.B.E* p. 20 (BuBdahish) ; Porphyry, de 
antro nympkarum, c. 18. Of. Dollinger, J. und E. I. p, 419, and IMe, 
Religion of the Iranian Peoples (Eng. ed.), Bombay, 1912, Pt 1, p. 113. 

2 Cumont, T. et M. n. p. 298, Fig. 154 (Sarmizegetnsa) ; p. 309, 
Fig. 167 (Apulum) ; p. 326, Fig. 193 (Sissdk). IXolmger, J. imd H. i. 
p. 141, thinks this cup-shaped boat represents ihe Moon. But see against 
this Cumont, op. vtt. L pp. 167, 168, 

3 Cumont, T. et M . u. p. 515 and PL rr, Hon. 273 fcr d (8) (Sarre- 
bourg). Of. ibid. n. p. 310, Fig. 168, Moo. 192 bis b (7), also t p. 167 and 
n. 5. 

4 Op. cti. n. p. 346, e (1) and PL v (Neusnheim) ; EC. p^ 350, f (3) (Oster- 
burken) ; n. p. 339, b (6) and PL iv (Mauls). 

Op. cit. n. p. 309, a (1) (Apulum) ; n. p. 326, b (3) andFig. 193 (Sissek). 
Op. cit. ir. p. 346, e (4) (Neuenheim) ; n. p. 309, a (2) (Apulum) ; n. 
p. 515, d (10) (Sa,rrebourg). 


244 The Worship of Mithras [OH. 

illustrate the relations between Mithras and the sun 1 . In what 
again seems to be the first in order, we see Mithras upright with 
a person kneeling before him who, from the rayed nimbus round 
his Head, is evidently the god Helios or Sol 2 . In one representa- 
tion of this scene, Mithras extends his left hand towards this 
nimbus as if to replace it on the head of its wearer 3 from which 
it has been displaced in yet another monument 4 , while in the 
other, he displays an object not unlike a Phrygian cap which may, 
however, be, as M. Cumont suggests, something like a water- 
skin 5 . Generally, Mithras is represented as holding this object 
over the bared head of the kneeling Sun-God, as if to crown him 
with it 6 . Then we find Mithras with the ray-crowned Sun-God 
upright beside him, while he grasps his hand in token, as it would 
seem, of alliance or friendship 7 . If we accept the hint afforded 
by the theory that the rock yielding water on being split by the 
arrows of Mithras is really a cloud producing the fertilizing rain, 
we may imagine that we have here the unconquered god remov- 
ing clouds which obscure the face of the great life-giving 
luminary and restoring to him the crown of rays which enables 
kim to shed his kindly light upon the earth. The earth would 
thus l>e made fit for the creation of man and other animals 
which, as we shall see, follows ; but in any event, the meaning 
of the scene which shows the alliance is, as M. Cumont has 
pointed out, not doubtful 8 . In one monument, where Mithras 
grasps the hand of the person we have identified with the Sun- 
God before an altar, he at the same time draws his sword, as if 
to perform the exchange of blood or blood-covenant usual in 
the East on swearing alliance 9 . Possibly the crowning scene, as 

1 Cumont, op. tit. I. p. 304, puts these scenes in a slightly different 
oarder. That followed here is that adopted in the Mithraeum at Heddern- 
heim, op> tit* n. PL vn, where the sequence is fairly plain. 

2 Op. c& n. p, 365, d (7) (Heddernheim). 

3 Op. e& n. p. 338, c (5) (Klagenfurt). 

* Op. c& n. p. 350, f (8) (Osterburken). 
5 O^, c&. i. p. 172. 

* Op. c& H. p. 272, c (2) (Serdica) ; n. pp. 303, 304, c (1) 
n. p, 326> b (1) (Sissek). 

7 Op. c& n, p, 337, c, (4) {Klageafurfe). 

, p. 173, * Q$. c& n. p. 20L 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 245 

M. Cumont also suggests 1 , is to be connected with Tertnllian's 
statement tliat in tlie initiation of the Mithraist to the degree 
of miles or soldier, he was offered at the sword's point a crown, 
which he cast away from him saying that Mithras was his crown. 
If so, it would afford some proof that the initiate here, as in 
the mysteries of IBIS, was made to impersonate the sun, which 
is on other grounds likely enough. 

We return to the scenes with the Bull, which here reach 
their climax. This is the sacrifice of the Bull by Mithras, 
which forms the central point of the whole legend. Its repre- 
sentation, generally in bas-relief, was displayed in the most 
conspicuous position in the apse of the Mithraic chapel, where 
it occupied the place of the modern altar-piece, and such art 
as the Eoman sculptors succeeded in displaying was employed 
to make it as impressive and as striking as possible 2 . It shows 
the god grasping with his left hand the nostrils of the beast, 
and kneeling with his left knee in the middle of the Bull's back, 
while with his right hand he plunges the broad-bladed dagger 
with which he was armed at his birth into the Bull's shoulder 3 . 
A dog leaps forward to lap the blood flowing from the wound, 
while at the same time a scorpion seizes the Bull by the genitals. 
A serpent also forms part of the group, but his position varies 
in the different monuments, while that of the other animals 
does not. Sometimes, he lifts his head towards the blood, aa 
if to share it with the dog, sometimes he is extended along the 
ground beneath the Bull's belly in apparent indifference to the 
tragedy enacted above him 4 . Before the Bull stands generally 
a youth clothed like Mithras himself in Phrygian cap, tunic, 
and mantle, as well as the anaxyrides or tight trousers in which 
the Greeks depicted most Easterns, while another youth 
similarly attired stands behind tite dying victim. These two 
human figures are alike in every particular save that one of them 

1 Cumont, op. cxt. L, p. 173, and n. 3. 

2 Most of the monuments show the remains of colour. 

3 Like the thrust of the Spanish bull-fighter which is supposed to split 
the heart, 

* Sometimes, though very rarely, the serpent is absent, as in the 
Mithraetma discovered at Kjotzenburg near Hanau. Op, tit* n. p. 353. 

246 The Worship of Mithras [OH. 

bears a torch upright with the flame pointing upwards, while 
the other holds a similar torch reversed so that the flame juts 
towards the earth. We know from a Latin inscription that the 
torch-bearer with uplifted torch was called Cautes, he with the 
reversed one Cautopates, but of neither name has any satis- 
factory derivation or etymology yet been discovered 1 . 

The meaning of the group as a whole can, however, be 
explained by the documents of the later Persian religion. The 
Bundahish tells us that Ahura Mazda created before all things 
the Bull Goshurun, who was killed by Ahriman, the god of evil, 
and that from his side came forth Gayomort, first of men, 
while from his tail there issued useful seed-plants and trees, 
from his blood the vine, and from his seed the different kinds of 
beasts 2 . Save that the bull-slayer is here not the god of evil 
but the lord of light himself, the myth is evidently the same in 
the Mithraie bas-reliefs, for in some of the earliest monuments 
the BulFs tail is actually shown sprouting into ears of wheat, 
while in others the production of animals as a consequence of 
the Bull's death may be indicated, as well as the birth of the 
vine 3 . That the dog plays the part of the guardian of the 
Bull's soul is probable from what we know of later Persian 
beliefa*, while the scorpion as the creature of Ahriman may be 
here represented as poisoning the seed of future life at its 
source 5 . That Mithras is not supposed to kill the Bull from 
enmity or other personal reasons, but in obedience to orders 
from some higher power, is shown by the listening pose of his 
head during the sacrifice. This is M. Cumontfs opinion 6 , as 

1 Cumont, op. ciL i. pp. 207, 208. Following the mention by Dionysius 
the Areopagite of a " threefold Mithras," M. Comont thinks that the two 
torch-baring figures are representations of Mithras himself. The theory 
is ingenious, hut not very plausible. See loc. tit. pp. 208-213. 

* Op. c&. -L p. 186, for authorities. Cf. Bollinger, J. v.nd H. I. p. 420. 
'Rele, Ed. of Iran. P. pt 1, p. 113, says that " originally " the hull was 
slain not hy ATyrirparr., but hy its creator. 

9 Op. c*t i. p. 197. Of- Porphyry, de antro wymphw. c. xvm, 

* IX Menant, "Les Bites FonJeraires," Conferences au'MitsJe Gwrnet, 
k xxxv. pjk 181 y 182. 

6 GL Plated de Is. tO*.& XLTO. 
6 So Comoni^ 31 f Jf , x. pp. 182, 305. 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 247 

also that the serpent here takes no active part in the affair, 
but is merely a symbolic representation of the earth 1 . The 
whole drama is clearly shown as taking place in a cave or grotto, 
as appears from the arch of rocks which surmounts, and, as it 
were, acts as a frame to, the Tauroctony or bull-slaying scene 
in most Mithraic chapels. This cave, according to Porphyry, 
represents the universe. 

The Legend, however, does not end with the death of the 
Bull. In the chapel at Heddernheim, the great slab on which 
the Tauroctony is sculptured in bas-relief is pivoted so as to 
swing round and display on its other face another scene which 
we find repeated in a slightly different form on many monu- 
ments 2 . Mithras and the Sun-God are here shown as partaking 
of a ritual feast or banquet in which grapes seem to figure. At 
Heddernheim, the grapes are tendered to the two gods over 
the body of the dead bull by the two torch-bearing figures 
Cautes and Cautopates, while on an arch above them various 
quadrupeds, dogs, a boar, a sheep, and a cow, are seen springing 
into life. In other monuments, the same scene generally 
appears as a banquet at which Mithras and Helios are seated 
side by side at a table sometimes alone, but at others in com- 
pany with different persons who can hardly be any other than 
initiates or worshippers 3 . That this represents some sort of 
sacrament where a drink giving immortality was administered 
seems probable, and its likeness to representations of the Last 
Supper is sufficient to explain the complaint of Justin Martyr 
and other Fathers that the devil had set on the Mlthraists to 
imitate in this and other respects the Church of Christ 4 . The 
final scene of all comes when we see Mithras arresting the 
glorious chariot of the Sun-God drawn by four wliite horses, and, 
mounting therein, being driven off by the ray-crowned Helios 
himself to the abode of Mght above the firmament 5 . In this 

1 Op. tit. i. p. 1#2. 2 Op. o& n. PL vm. 

3 Op.tit. I. p. 175,1% 10, -where some of the guests at the banquet wear 
the masks of crows aad other animals corresponding to the Mithraic degrees. 

4 Justin Martyr, First Apology, c. LVL 

5 Cumont, T. et M . n. PL vnr, shows this most clearly. PL v 
(Neuenheim), Fig 213, opposite p. 337 (Virunum), aad p. 278, Fig. 121 
(Orsova), leave no doubt possible. 

248 The Worship of Mithras [OH. 

also, it is easy to see a likeness between representations of the 
Ascension of Mithras and that of Elijah or even of Christ 1 . 

However this may be, the Legend of Mithras, as thus 
portrayed, shows with fair closeness the belief of his worshippers 
as to his place in the scheme of the universe. Mithras was 
certainly not the Supreme God, a rank in the system filled by 
Ahura Mazda, or his Latin counterpart, Jupiter Best and 
Greatest 2 . But this being, like the Platonic Zeus and the 
Gnostic Bythos, was considered too great and too remote to 
concern himself with the doings of the visible universe, in which 
Mithras acts as his vicegerent. Whether Mithras was or was 
not considered as in some sort the double or antitype of the 
Supreme Being cannot be said ; but it is worth noticing that 
in the Vedas, as among the Hittites, Varuna and Mitra form 
an inseparable couple who are always invoked together, and 
that the same seems to have been the case with Ahura Mazda 
and Mithra in the oldest religious literature of the Persians 3 . 
It may therefore well be that the learned doctors of the Mithraic 
theology regarded their Supreme Being and Mithras as two 
aspects of the same god, an idea that, as we have seen, was 
current at about the same period among the Gnostics. It is, 
however, impossible to speak with certainty on such a point 
in the absence of any writings by persons professing the Mithraic 
faith, and it is highly improbable that the rugged soldiers who 
formed the majority of the god's worshippers ever troubled 
themselves much about such questions. For them, no doubt, 
and for all, perhaps, but a few carefully-chosen persons, 
Mithras was the Demiurge or Divine Artizan of the universe 4 , 
which he governs in accordance with the laws of right and 
justice, protecting and defending alike man and those animals 
and plants useful to him which Mithras has himself created from 
his own spontaneous goodness. Hence he was the only god 
to whom they admitted allegiance, and although the existence 

1 Cumont, op. tit. i. p. 178, and Fig. 11. 

2 The Juppiter Optimus Maximus of the Palazzo Altieri. Op. ciL n. 
p. 104. 

3 Darmesteter, Ormuzd et Afarim<m, p. 65. 

4 Porphyry, de antro nympharum t c. xxiv. 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 249 

of other heavenly beings was not denied, it is probable that 
most of them were looked upon as occupying at the best a 
position less important to us than that of Mithras himself. 

It is probable, moreover, that all the scenes in the Mithraic 
sculptures in which we have seen the god taking part were 
considered as being enacted before the creation of man and in 
some heaven or world midway between the abode of Infinite 
Light and this earth. That the grotto into which Mithras 
drags the primordial Bull is no earthly cavern is plain from 
Porphyry's remark that the Mithraic cave was an image of the 
universe 1 , as well as from the band of zodiacal figures or the 
arch of rocks which sometimes encloses the bas-reliefs, the sky 
being looked upon by the Babylonians as a rocky vault. The 
sun and moon in their respective chariots also appear above 
the principal scene ; and a further hint as to its whereabouts 
may be found in the fact that the flowing mantle of Mithras is 
sometimes depicted as spangled with stars, thereby indicating 
that the scenes in which he appears are supposed to take place 
in the starry firmament. Hence is explained the epithet of 
fjueo-Lr^ or Mediator, which Plutarch gives him 2 , and which 
should be interpreted not as intercessor but as he who occupies 
a position midway between two places 3 . That the higher of 
these in this case was the Garotman or abode of Infinite Light 
of the Avestic literature, there can, it would seem, be no 
question ; but what was the lower ? 

Although the statement must be guarded with all the 
reserves imposed upon us in all matters relating to the religion 
of Mithras by the absence of written documents, it is probable 
that this lower division of the universe was our earth. The 
monuments give us with fair certainty the Mithraic ideas as to 
how life was brought thither ; but they tell us little or nothing 
as to the condition in which the earth was at the time, nor 
how it was supposed to have come into existence. Porphyry 
tells us that the " elements " (crro^%eta) were represented in the 
Mithraic chapel 4 , and we find in some examples of the bull- 
slaying scenes, the figures of a small lion and a crater or 
mixing-bowl beneath the belly of the bull, which M. Cumont 

1 Op. cit. cc. v. VT. a Plutarch, de Is. et Os. c. XLVI. 

3 Porphyry, de antro nymph, c. xxiv. 4 Op. cit. cc. v. vi. 

250 The Worship of Mithras [OH* 

considers to be the symbols of fire and water respectively ; 
while the earth may be typified, as has been said above, by 
the serpent, and the fourth element or air may be indicated by 
the wind which is blowing Mithras' mantle away from his body 
and to the left of the group 1 . If this be so, it is probable that 
the Mithraist who thought about such matters looked upon the 
four elements, of which the ancients believed the world to be 
composed, as already in existence before the sacrifice of the 
primordial bull brought life upon the earth ; and that the work 
of Mithras as Demiurge or Artizan was confined to arranging 
and moulding them into the form of the cosmos or ordered 
world. As to what was the ultimate origin of these elements,, 
and whether the Mithraists, like the Gnostics, held that Matter 
had an existence independent of, and a nature opposed to, 
the Supreme Being, we have no indication whatever. 

Of Mithraic eschatology or the view that the worshippers 
of Mithras held as to tie end of the world, we know rather less 
than we do of their ideas as to its beginning. The Persian 
religion, after its reform under the Sassanid kings, taught that 
it would be consumed by fire 2 ; and, as this doctrine of the 
Ecpyrosis, as the ancients called it, was also held by the Stoics, 
whose physical doctrines were then fashionable at Rome, it is 
probable enough that it entered into Mithraism also. But of 
this there is no proof, and M. Cumont's attempt to show that 
a similar conflagration was thought by the Mithraic priests to 
have taken place before the Tauroctony, and as a kind of 
paradigm or forecast of what was to come, is not very con- 
vincing 3 . Yet some glimpse of what was supposed to happen 
between the creation of the world and its destruction seems to 

1 Chnnont, T. et M, i. pp. 198 sqq. Damascius (in Cory's Ancient 
Fragments, 1832, p. 319) attributes to the " Sidonians " a theogony which 
woold make "Otos," said by Cory to mean the Night Raven, the Nous- vorp-os 
bora from Aer and Aura. Has this anything to do with the symbolism of 
the mow, found always as the attendant of Mithras at the Tauroetony ? 

* SMedktom, La Vie Fttiwre d'apres le Mazd&#me, Paris, 1901, pp. 265, 
266>foirsffitlK>rities. GL GasartelK, La PMasophie RdigieMseduMazd&me, 
p. 186. 

5 {^snxmi* T. & M . i. p. 16& He refi s on a fragment of Dion 
C&rysostoin wtofe tloes no& appear to have ink meaning. See t&wi n. 
p. 64. 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 251 

be typified by a monstrous figure often found in the mined 
chapels once used for the Mithraic worship, where it seems to 
have been carefully guarded from the eyes of the general body 
of worshippers. This monster had the body of a man 1 with 
the head of a lion, while round his body is twined a huge 
serpent, whose head either appears on the top of the lion's or 
rests on the human breast. On the monster's back appear 
sometimes two, but generally four wings, and in his hands he 
bears upright two large keys, for one of which a sceptre is 
sometimes substituted; while his feet are sometimes human, 
sometimes those of a crocodile or other reptile. On his body, 
between the folds of the serpent, there sometimes appear the 
signs of the four quarters of the year, i.e. Aries and Libra, 
Cancer and Capricorn 2 , and in other examples a thunderbolt on 
the breast or on the right knee 3 . The figure is often mounted 
on a globe which bears in one instance the two crossed bands 
which show that it is intended for our earth, and in one curious 
instance he appears to bear a flaming torch in each hand, 
while his breath is kindling a flame which is seen rising from an 
altar beside him 4 . It is possible that in this last we have a 
symbolical representation of the Ecpyrosis. Lastly, in the 
Mithraic chapel at Heddernheim, which is the only one where the 
figure of the lion-headed monster was found in situ, it was con- 
cealed within a deep niche or cell so fashioned, says M. Cumont, 
that the statue could only be perceived through a little conical 
aperture or peep-hole made in the slab of basalt closing the niche 5 . 
M. Cumont' s theory, as given in his magnificent work on 

1 M. Cumont, op. tit. i. p. 82, says that the sex is left undecided, so 
as to show that Infinite Time, the Supreme God axx>ording to him of the 
Mithraic pantheon, can produce by himself. This is certainly not the case 
with one of the statues given among his own monuments (op. tit. n. p, 213, 
Fig* 44), or that lately recovered from the Mthraeum at Sidon, for which see 
Pottier, " La Collection Louis de dercq," Conferences an Mus& Gmmet, 
Bibl. de Vulg. t. xrx. 1906, PL opp. p. 236, or P.S.B.A. 1912, PL XEK, 
Fig. 18, or Cumont, Les Mysferes de Mitfoa, BraxeHes, 1913, p. 235. 

* Cumont, T. el M. n. p. 213, Figs, 43, 44. 

3 Op. eft. n. p. 216, Fig. 47 ; p. 238, Fig. 68; p, 259, Fig. 96. 

* Op. ctt. n. p, 196, Fig. 22. A hole in the back of the head, made 
apparently for "fire-breathing " purposes, was found in the Sidon statue 
also. See Cumont, Les Mysfaes, fig. 27. * T. et M . n. p. 375. 

252 The Worship of Mithras [GEL 

tlie Mysteres de Mithra, and elsewhere, is that the figure repre- 
sents that Zervan Akerene or Boundless Time whom he would 
put at the head of the Mithraic pantheon, and would make the 
father of both Ormuzd and Ahriman 1 . M. Cumont's opinion, 
on a subject of which he has made himself the master, must 
always command every respect, and it may be admitted that the 
notion of such a supreme Being, corresponding in many ways 
to the Ineffable Bythos of the Gnostics, did appear in the 
later developments of the Persian religion, and may even have 
been known during the time that the worship of Mithras 
flourished in the West 2 . It has been shown elsewhere, however, 
that this idea only came to the front long after the cult of 
Mithras had become extinct, that M. Cumont's view that the 
lion-headed monster was represented as without sex or passions 
has been shown to be baseless by later discoveries, and that the 
figure is connected in at least one example with an inscription 
to Arimanes or Ahriman 3 . M, Cumont has himself noted the 
confusion which a Christian, writing before the abolition of the 
Mithras worship, makes between the statues of Hecate, goddess 
of hell and patroness of sorcerers, and those of the lion-headed 
monster 4 , and Hecate's epithet of TLepaeiy can only be explained 
by some similar association 5 . At the same time, M. Cumont 
makes it plain that the Mithraists did not regard these infernal 
powers Ahriman and Hecate with the horror and loathing which 
the reformed Zoroastrian religion afterwards heaped upon the 
antagonist of Ormuzd 6 . On the contrary the dedications of 

1 Op. cit. i. p. 78. 

2 The only evidence that he produces of this last fact is a quotation from 
Damascius* whose authority seems to be " Eudemus the Peripatetic," given 
in n.4,p. 236supra. thatsome of the Magi call the VOTJTOV airav <al TO r\v^vQv 
Topos and others Chronos. A good divinity and an evil demon according 
to the same author descend from this power, one of whom he says is called 
Qroanasdes and the other Arimanitis. It is not very dear how much of this 
is Ettdemus and how much Damascius. No other author gives any hint 
that womkl alow us to attribute so early an age to Zervanism. 

3 P&B^i. 1912, pp. 130-442. 

4 MrmJbroMatemii%t&m-or,c.iv. See Cumont, T. et M . i. p. 140, n. 7* 

5 They are mentioned together in the great Magical Papyrus of the 
BMoth&| He N&tKHadb afc P&ris, Wess%, GriexMscke Zaaberp. p, 73. 

T. <st M. i. p. 141. 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 253 

several altars and statues show that they paid them worship 
and offered them sacrifices, as the Greeks did to Hades and 
Persephone, the lord and lady of hell, of whom the Mithraists 
probably considered them the Persian equivalents. From all 
these facts, the conclusion seems inevitable that the lion-headed 
monster represents Ahriman, the consort of Hecate 1 . 

If we now look at the religious literature of the time when 
the worship of Mithras was coming into favour, we find a pretty 
general consensus of opinion that the chthonian or infernal 
god represented in the earlier Persian religion hy this Ahriman, 
was a power who might be the rival of, but was not necessarily 
the mortal enemy of Zeus. Whether Neander be right or not 
in asserting that the prevailing tendency of the age was towards 
Dualism 2 , it is certain that most civilized nations had then come 
to the conclusion that on this earth the bad is always mixed up 
with the good. Plutarch puts this clearly enough when he says 
that nature here below comes not from one, but from two 
opposed principles and contending powers, and this opinion, he 
tells us, is a most ancient one which has come down from 
expounders of myths (#eoXoy<u) and legislators to poets and 
philosophers, and is expressed " not in words and phrases, but 
in mysteries and sacrifices, and has been found in many places 
among both Barbarians and Greeks 3 ." The same idea of an- 
tagonistic powers is, of course, put in a much stronger form in 
the reformed Persian religion, where the incursion of Ahriman 
into the kingdom of Ormuzd brings upon the earth all evil in 
the shape of winter, prolonged drought, storms, disease, and 
beasts and plants hurtful to man 4 . But this does not seem to 
have been the view of Ahriman's functions taken by the older 
Magism, whence the worship of Mithras was probably derived 5 . 

1 The absence of any corresponding sfcakte of the goddess is perhaps 
accounted for by the misogynic character of the Mithraic worship. Yet 
an empty niche corresponding to the one containing the lion-headed figure 
appears in some Mithraea. 

2 Neander, Ch. Hist. n. p. 7 and note. 

3 Plutarch, de Is, et Os. a XLV. 

4 Camont,T.e*Jf.i.p.5, quot^ West, Pa^at^" ^earfs, I*t v. p. xxvi, 50. 
& F. Rosenberg, Le Livre de Zoroasfre, St Petersburg, i. p. 10, and n. 3, 

says that the reform of Zoroaster was specially directed to the abolition 
of the worship of AhrimaiL 

254 The Worship of Mithras [OH. 

In Mithraism, it is not Ahriman, as in the Bundahish, but 
Mithras, the vicegerent of Ormuzd, who slays the mystic Bull, 
and by so doing he brings good and not evil to the earth. 
Nowhere do we find in the Mithraic sculptures any allusion to 
Ahriman as a god of evil pure and simple, or as one who is for 
ever opposed to the heavenly powers. We do, indeed, find in 
several Mithraea representations of a Titanomachia where the 
Titans, represented as men with serpent legs, are depicted as 
fleeing before a god like the Greek Zeus who strikes them with 
his thunderbolts 1 . But this is not more necessarily suggestive 
of two irreconcilable principles than the Greek story of the 
Titans, those sons of Earth who were persuaded by their mother 
to make war upon their father Uranos, who put their brother 
Kronos upon his throne, and who were in their turn hurled from 
heaven by Kronos' son Zeus. Even if we do not accept the later 
myth which reconciles Zeus to his adversaries 2 , the story does 
not go further than to say that the Titans attempted to gain 
heaven and were thrust back to their own proper dwelling-place, 
the earth. 

It is in this way, as it would seem, that the lion-headed 
monster of the Mithraic chapels must be explained. Ahriman, 
the god girt with the serpent which represents the earth, has 
rebelled against Ormuzd or Jupiter, and has been marked with 
the thunderbolt which has cast him down from heaven. But 
he remains none the less lord of his own domain, the earth, his 
sway over which is shown by the sceptre which he wields while 
standing upon it 3 . As for the keys which he bears, they are 
doubtless those of the gates behind which he keeps the souk 
and bodies of men, as the Orphics said, imprisoned, until he 
is compelled to release them by a higher power 4 . In all this, 

1 Cumont, T. et M. n. Monument 246, e (5) Osterburken, and others 
as in t. L, p. 157 and n. 3. Cf. also PL xvi, Fig. 7, in P.S.B.A. 1912. 

* The Orphic invocation of the Titans referred to in Chap. IV, vol. I. 
p. 116, B. 3 swpra can be thus explained, 

3 CkuHoat, T. & M. n. JL 215, 1%. 46 (PL xvni, Pig, i o f P.S.B.A. 
1912) ; J3L pt 238, 1% 68 (PI xvm, Kg. 15 of P.&JBJ1. 1912). 

4 So m the leaden J&tse from Cyprus new in the British Mttsenm the 
Lord of He! is invoked as ** the god who is set over the gate of h0H aad 
the keys of heaven.** P.&J&A t. xm., 1891, p. 177. 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 255 

Ms functions do not go beyond those of the Greek Hades, with 
whom Plutarch equates him. 

It is however, possible that he was conceived by the Mith- 
raists as occupying a slightly different place in the material 
universe from that of his Greek prototype. The true realm of 
Hades was generally placed by the Greeks below the earth, but 
that of the Mithraic Ahriman may possibly be just outside it. 
M. Cumont shows many reasons for supposing the lion-headed 
god to be connected with the idea of destiny 1 , and in one of the 
very few contemporary writings which make distinct allusion 
to the Mithraic tenets, there is something which confirms this 
view. This occurs in a fragment embedded, as it were, in a 
Magic Payprus or sorcerer's handbook now in the Bibliotheque 
Rationale at Paris 2 . The document itself is probably not, as 
Prof. Albert Dieterich has too boldly asserted, a " Mithraic 
Liturgy " ; but it is evidently connected in some way with the 
Mithraic worship and begins with a statement that the writer 
is a priest who has received inspiration from " the great Sun- 
God Mithras." M. Georges Lafaye is of opinion that it narrates 
in apocalyptic fashion the adventures of the soul of a perfect 
Mithraist on its way to heaven, and this is probably correct, 
although it is here told for no purpose of edification but as a 
spell or charm 3 . The soul, if it be indeed she who is speaking, 
repeatedly complains to the gods whom she meets including 
one in white tunic, crimson mantle and anaxyrides or Persian 
trousers who may be Mithras himself of " the harsh and 
inexorable necessity " which has been compelling her so long 
as she remained in the " lower nature 4 ." But the Sphere of 
Destiny or necessity, as we have seen in the Pistis Sophia, was 
thought to be the one immediately surrounding the earth, and 
although the document in which we have before met with this 
idea belongs to a different set of religious beliefs than those 

1 Cumont, T. <st M . r. p. 294. 

2 Wessely, Griechiscke Zawberp* pp. 32 $gg. 

3 Georges Lafaye, "L'lnitiatkwi Mthriaqne,** Qonf&ences au Mu&fe 
Guimet, t, xvm. 1906, pp. 98 sqq. 

* Wessely, Gr. Zaub&rp. p. c& in note 2 swpm, and Lafaye, op. c& 

256 The Worship of Mithras [OH. 

here treated of ? it is probable that both Gnostic and Mithraist 
drew it from the astrological theories current at the time which 
came into the Hellenistic world from Babylon. It is therefore 
extremely probable that the Mithraists figured Ahriman as 
ruling the earth from the sphere immediately outside it, and 
this would agree well with his position upon the globe in the 
monuments where he appears. It is some confirmation of this 
that, in another part of the Papyrus just quoted, the " World- 
ruler " (Cosmocrator) is invoked as t the Great Serpent, leader 
of these gods, who holds the source of Egypt [Qy, The Nile ?] 
and the end of the whole inhabited world [in his hands], who 
begets in Ocean Pshoi (i.e. Fate) the god of gods 1 " ; while 
the Great Dragon or Outer Darkness in the Pistis Sophia is 
said to surround the earth. That both orthodox Christians 
and Gnostics like the Valentinians looked upon the Devil, who, 
as lord of hell, was sometimes identified with Hades, as the 
Cosmocrator or World-Euler requires no further demonstration 2 , 
and in this particular as in others the Mithraists may have 
drawn from the same source as the Gnostic teachers 3 . 

That they did so in a related matter can be shown by direct 
evidence. Like the Ophites of the Diagram before described, 
the Mithraists thought that the soul descended to the body 
through seven spheres which were those of the 4 planets " 
Saturn, Venus, Jupiter, Mercury, Mars, the Moon, and the Sun 
in that order, which Origen, who mentions the fact, says that 
the Persian theology declared to be symbolized " by the names 
of the rest of matter," and also gave for it " musical reasons 4 ." 
He further describes the different qualities which the soul in 
her passage receives from each sphere, and which it seems fair 
to conclude she gives back to them on her reascension. 
M. Cumont is no doubt right when he attributes the origin of 

1 Wessely, op. cti. p. 61. 2 See Chapter IX, p. 108 supra. 

s Lafayej Uln. Mith. pp. Ill, 112, goes further and says that both 
Gnosiies and Manichaeans derived their doctrine from Mithraism, which 
ioraed a kaif-wsy hoose between. Paganism and Christianity. But see 
Gbaptar X3H, f^tk 

* Oi%eB0iitOe2&Bkvi.a^. For " mBsaeal" ifoere should probably 
be read myetieat i&e T being eas% ozoitted by a copyist. 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 257 

this tenet to the matJiematici or astrologers and says that it too 
came originally from Chaldaea 1 . The seven heavens are also 
found in many Oriental documents of the time, including the 
Book of the Secrets of Enoch 2 and the Apocalypse of Baruch*, 
According to Origen, they were symbolized in the Mithraic 
chapels by a ladder of eight steps, the first seven being of the 
metals peculiar to the different planets, i.e. lead, tin, copper, 
iron, an alloy of several metals, silver, and gold, with the eighth 
step representing the heaven of the fixed stars 4 . The Stoics 
who held similar views, following therein perhaps the Platonic 
cosmogony, had already fixed the gate of the sty through which 
the souls left the heaven of the fixed stars on their descent to 
the earth in Cancer, and that by which they reascended in 
Capricorn 5 , which probably accounts for the two keys borne by 
the lion-headed god on the Mithraic monuments, and for those 
two Zodiacal signs being displayed on his body. The other two 
signs, viz. Aries and Libra, may possibly refer to, the places in 
a horoscope or genethliacal figure which the astrologers of the 
time called the Porta laboris and Janua Ditis respectively, as 
denoting the gate by which man " born to labour " enters life, 
and the " gate of Hades " by which he leaves it 6 . If, as 
Porphyry says, the doctrine of metempsychosis formed part 
of the Mithraic teaching, the keys would thus have a meaning 
analogous to the Orphic release from " the wheel 7 ." 

The other gods who appear on the Mithraic monuments are 
those known to us in classical mythology and are represented 
under the usual human forms made familiar by Greek and 
Roman art. By the side of, but in a subordinate position to 
Jupiter, we find, if M. Cumont be justified in 11$ identifications, 

1 Cumont, T. et M. I. p. 38. 

2 Charles, Rk of the Se&rete of Mnocfa, pp. xxx *gq, 

3 The <3reek ApcKsalypse of Baatieh, published by James in GomMdge 
Texts and Studies, voL v. Ho. 1, p. 44. 

4 cwfo. Cds. Bk vi. e. 22. He lias, however, got the order wrong, as 
copper is generally associated with the planet Veaans, tin with Jupiter, iron 
with Mars, silver with the Moon, gold with the Sun, and lead with Saturn. 

5 Boach6 Leclereq, UAsfrdogie Grecque, p. 23, for authorities. 
* Op. tit. p. 276. Cf. Camont, T. et M. I. p. 40. 

7 Porphyry, de Abstinentia, Bk rv. c. 16. 
L.IL 17 

258 The Worship of Mithras [GEL 

nearly all the " great gods " of the Greco-Roman pantheon. 
Five o these, that is to say, Jupiter himself, Saturn, Mars, 
Venus, and Mercury may be intended as symbols of the planets 
which, then as now, bore these names. But there are others 
such as Juno, Neptune and Amphitrite, Pluto and Proserpine, 
Apollo, Vulcan, and Hercules who cannot by any possibility 
be considered as planetary signs 1 - M. Cumont's theory about 
these divinities is, if one understands him rightly, that these are 
really Persian or Avestic gods, such as Verethragna, represented 
under the classic forms of their Greek counterparts to make 
them attractive to their Roman worshippers 2 . This does not 
seem very probable, because the Persians did not figure their 
gods in human form 3 . Nor is there any reason to think that 
the Mithraists confined themselves to the theocrasia or the 
practice of discovering their own gods in the divinities of the 
peoples around them which we have seen so rife in Greece, Italy, 
and Egypt. But in the age when the worship of Mithras became 
popular in the Roman Empire, all paganism was groping its way 
towards a religion which should include and conciliate all others, 
and there is much evidence that the votaries of Mithras were 
especially determined that this religion should be their own. Isis, 
as we have seen, might proclaim herself as the one divinity 
whom under many names and in many forms the whole earth 
adored ; Jtrat the^Mthra^ ap^rentlj 

They appear to have first gained access to Rome under an alliance 
with the priests of Cybele, whose image, with its emasculated 
attendants the Galli, was transported from Pergamum to the 
Eternal City during the critical moments of the Second Punic 
War 4 . Externally there were many analogies between the 
two cults, and Cybele's consort Attis, like Mithras, was always 
represented in a Phrygian cap and anaxyrides. One of the most 

1 Comont, T. et M. I. p. 129, n. 6, for list of monuments. 

* Op. ti loc. eft. ; id. KeL Or. p. 179. 

* See p. 234, t^3fBk Ttie figure of the divine archer in the winged disk 
wfaiel* igsred on the ooim called daiies is, perhaps, the exception w&kit 
proves tfe& rale. Or is tiiis Baeaat f or the IravasM or genios of the king t 
Cf . Hope MonMoti, Mm%$f Zoro&sfrifmwm* pw 2& 

4 Soiawte0aixmtmB.a See Oeraon^ MfL Or. p. 58. 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 259 

impressive, if most disgusting practices in the religion of Cybele 
the Taurobolium or blood-bath in which a bull was slaughtered 
over a pit covered with planks pierced with holes through which 
the blood of the victim dripped upon the naked votary below 
was borrowed by the Mithraists, and many of them boast on 
their funereal inscriptions that they have undergone this cere- 
mony and thereby, as they express it, have been " born again.'* 
The darissimi and high officials of the Empire who have left 
records of the kind are careful to note that they are worshippers 
of " the Great Mother " (Cybele) and Attis, as well as of Mithras 1 , 
and a similar statement occurs so frequently on the funereal and 
other inscriptions of their wives as to lead to the hypothesis that 
the ceremonies of the Phrygian Goddess were the natural refuge 
of Mithras' female votaries 2 . So, too, the worship of the 
Alexandrian divinities, which that of Mithras in some sort 
supplanted, and which, as being as popular in the Greek world 
as the last-named was in the Latin, might have been expected 
to be hostile to it, yet had relations with it not very easy to be 
understood. In the assembly of the gods which in some of the 
monuments crowns the arch set over the Tauroctony, the 
central place is in one instance taken by Sarapis with the 
distinctive maiius on his head instead of Zeus or Jupiter 3 , the 
same priest often describes himself as serving the altars of both 
gods, and " Zeus, Helios, Mithras, Sarapis, unconquered one ! " 
is invoked in one of those spells in the Magic Papyri which 
contain fragments of ritual prayers or hymns*. Possibly it is 
for this reason, that the initiating priest in Apuleius* story whom 
the grateful Lucius says he regards as his father, is named 

1 Oreffi, In&ypL Latinar* aekctar. Turin, 18&8 rol i. pp. 40$-I2. 

2 See Cumoiit, T. et M . n. p. 95, inscr. 15, & $&, msor- 23 ; p. 100 
inscr. 40 ; p. 101* inecr. 41. The tomb of Vnaeentins in the Catacomb of 
Praetextatus at Borne would Aow an instance of Hie joint worship of 
Sabazius, the consort of the Great Hotter, and of Mithras, if we could trust 
GamiGcFs restoration, for which see Ms Les My&teres dv, Synar&iame 
PJirygien, Paris, 1854. It has been quoted in this sense by Hatch, E.L. 
p. 290 ; but Cumont, T. e M . n. pp. 173 aisd 413, argues against this 
<3onstruction. For the pictures themselves, see Maass, Orpheus, Miinohen, 
1895, pp. 221, 222. 

3 Cumont, T. et M . n. p. 261, Fig. 99. * Keayon, Gk Pwpyri, p. 65. 


260 The Worship of Mithras [OH. 

Mithras, as if the initiate had been led to the Mysteries of Isis 
through the worship of that god 1 . 

The same syncretistic tendency is particularly marked in the 
leaning of the Mithraists to the worship of the gods of Eleusis. 
" Consecrated to Liber [the Latin name of Dionysos] and the 
Eleusinian [goddesses]/' " Mystes of Ceres," " priest " or " Chief 
Herdsman (archibucolus) of the god Liber," " hierophant of 
Father Liber and the Hecates/' " Consecrated at Eleusis to 
the god Bacchus, Ceres, and Cora " are some of the distinctions 
which the devotees of Mithras vaunt on their tombstones 2 ; 
while we learn that when the last survivors of the two sacred 
families who had for centuries furnished priests to the Eleu- 
sinian Mysteries died out, the Athenians sent for a priest of 
Mithras from one of the neighbouring islands, and handed over 
to him the care of the sacred rites 3 . It is even possible that 
the complaisance of the Mithraists for other religions went 
further than has hitherto been suspected. Not only does Justin 
Martyr after describing the celebration of the Christian Eucharist 

" Wherefore also the evil demons in mimicry have handed down 
that the same thing should be done in the Mysteries of Mithras. 
For that bread and a cup of water are in these mysteries set before 
the initiate with certain speeches you either know or can learn 4 " ; 

but we know from Porphyry that the initiate into the rites of 
Mithras underwent a baptism by total immersion which was 
said to expiate his sins 5 . Among the worshippers of Mithras, on 
the same authority, were also virgins and others vowed to 
continence 6 , and we hear that the Mithraists used, like the 

1 This is the more likely because his second initiator bears the name of 
Asinius, which, as he himself says (Apuleius, Metamorph. Bk XL, c. 27), 
was not unconnected with his own transformation into the shape of an 
ass. The Emperor Commodus was initiated into both religions (Lampri- 
oius, Com/modus, c. rx.). 

2 See n. 1, p. 259, supra. 

3 Bill, Nero to Marcus Aurelius, p. 625, n. 3, quoting Gasquet, Mithras* 
p. 137. See also Gibbon, voL m. p. 498, Bury (Appendix 15). 

4 Justin Martyr, First Apology, c. LXVT, 

5 Porphyry, de antro nymph, c. 15. Tertullian, de Praescpt. c, 40. 

6 Porphyry, op. et loc. tit. 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 261 

Christians, to call each other " Brother " and address their 
priests as " Father 1 ." St Augustine tells us that in his time 
the priests of Mithras were in the habit of saying, " That One 
in the Cap [i.e. Mithras] is a Christian too ! " and it is not 
unlikely that the claim was seriously made 2 . During the reigns 
of the Second Flavian Emperors and before Constantine's pact 
with the Church, we hear of hymns sung by the legionaries 
which could be chanted in common by Christians, Mithraists, 
and the worshippers of that Sun-God the adoration of whom 
was hereditary or traditional in the Flavian House 3 . The 
Mithraists also observed Sunday and kept sacred the 25th of 
December as the birthday of the sun 4 . 

Of the other rites and ceremonies used in the worship of 
Mithras we know next to nothing. As appears from the authors 
last quoted, the whole of the worship was conducted in 
" mysteries " or secret ceremonies like the Bleusinian and the 
rites of the Alexandrian divinities, although on a more extended 
scale. The Mithraic mysteries always took place in a subter- 
ranean vault or " cave," lighted only by artificial light. The 
ruins of many of these have been found, and are generally so 
small as to be able to accommodate only a few worshippers 5 , 
whence perhaps it followed that there were often several 
Mithraea in the same town or city 6 . The chief feature seems to 
have been always the scene of the Tauroctony or Bull-slaying 
which was displayed on the apse or further end of the chapel, 
and was generally carved in bas-relief although occasionally 
rendered in the round. The effect of this was sought to be 

1 See Cumont, T. et M. i. p. 339, for authorities. 

2 Augustine, In Johann. evang. tractatus, vn. or Cumont, T. & M. n. 
p. 59. This last thinks it more probable that the passage refers to Attis, 
as there is an allusion in it to redemption by blood. But this would hardly 
apply to the self-mutilation of the Galli, while it would to the blood-bath 
of the Taurobolium and Criobolium which so many high initiates of Mithras 
boast of undergoing. 

3 J. Maurice, "La Dynastie Solaire des Seconds Flaviens," JBet>. 
Archeol. t. xvn. (1911), p. 397 andn. 1. 

4 Cumont, T. et M. I. p. 339, quoting Minucius Felix. 

5 Op. eft. I. p. 65. 

6 The remains of five Mithraea were found in Ostia alone. 

262 The Worship of Mithras [OH. 

heightened by brilliant colouring, perhaps made necessary by 
the dim light, and there were certainly altars of the square or 
triangular pedestal type, and a well or other source from which 
water could be obtained. The benches for the worshippers 
were of stone and ran at right angles to and on either side of 
the Tauroctony, so as to resemble the choir stalls in the chancel 
of a modern church 1 . "We have seen that the lion-headed 
figure was concealed from the eyes of the worshippers, and we 
know that they used to kneel during at least part of the service, 
which was not in accord with the practice of either the Greeks 
or Romans, who were accustomed to stand with upturned palms 
when praying to the gods 2 . Sacrifices of animals which, if we 
may judge from the debris left in some of the chapels, were 
generally birds 3 , seem to have been made ; but there is no 
reason to believe the accusation sometimes brought against the 
Mithraists that they also slaughtered human victims in honour 
of their god. Lampridius tells us, on the other hand, that the 
Emperor Commodus on his initiation sullied the temple by 
converting a feigned into a real murder 4 , and we hear from 
another and later source that in consequence of this only a 
bloody sword was shown to the candidate 5 . It seems therefore 
that somebody was supposed to suffer death during the cere- 
mony, perhaps under the same circumstances as already 
suggested in the kindred case of the Alexandrian Mysteries 6 . 
We are a little better informed as to the degrees of initiation, 
which numbered seven. The initiate ascended from the degree 
of Crow (corax), which was the first or lowest, to that of Father 
(Pater), which was the seventh or highest, by passing successively 

1 Cumont, T. et M . n. p. 204, Pig. 30, and p. 493, Fig. 430 ; or 
P.S.B.A* 1912, Pi xm. Figs. 1 and 2. 

3 Camont, T. et M . L p. 62. 

3 The story quoted from Pseudo- Augustine (Cumont, op. cit. i. p. 322) 
about the hands of the initiates being bound with chickens' -guts which were 
afterwards severed by a sword might account for the number of birds' 

4 Cumont, op. <^.n. p. 21, gives the passage from Lampridius mentioned 
in n. 1, p. 260, #wp*a. 

s Op. e$L i. p. 3^, quoting Zaehariug rhetor. 
6 See C&apferll, oi. i. pu 62, supra. 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 263 

tkrough the intermediate degrees of Man of the Secret (Cryphius), 
Soldier (Miles), Lion (Leo), Persian (Perses), and Courier of 
the Sun (Heliodromus) 1 . It would seem that either he, or the 
initiating priests, or perhaps the other assistants, had to assume 
disguises consisting of masks corresponding to the animals 
named in the first and fourth of these degrees, and to make 
noises like the croaking of birds and the roaring of lions 2 . These 
rightly recall to M. Cumont the names of animals borne by 
initiates or priests in other religions in Greece and Asia Minor 
and may be referred to totemistic times. We also know from 
a chance allusion of Tertullian that on being admitted to the 
degree of soldier, the initiate was offered a crown or garland at 
the point of a sword, which he put away from him with the 
speech, " Mithras is my crown ! ", and that never thereafter 
might he wear a garland even at a feast 3 . Porphyry, too, tells 
us that in the degree of Lion, the initiate's hands and lips were 
purified with honey. It has also been said by the Fathers that 
before or during initiation, the candidate had to undergo certain 
trials or tortures, to swim rivers, plunge through fire, and to 
jump from apparently vast heights 4 ; but it is evident from the 
small size of the Mithraea or chapels which have come down to 
us that these experiences would have demanded much more 
elaborate preparation than there was space for, and, if they 
were ever enacted, were probably as purely " make-believe " 
as the supposed murder just mentioned and some of the 
initiatory ceremonies in certain societies of the present day 5 . 
Lastly, there is no doubt that women were strictly excluded 
from all the ceremonies o the cult, thereby justifying in some 

1 Cumont, p. 18, for the passage in St Jeroixie in which these 
degrees axe enumerated. They all appear in ibe inscriptions given by 
Cumont, except that of Miles or Soldier. An inscription by two " soldiers " 
of Mithras has, however, lately been found at Patras and published by 
its discoverers, M, Charles Avezou aaki M. Charles Pksard. See E.H.R. 
t MOT. (1911), pp. 179-183. 

2 Cumont, T. et M. I. pp. 315 *gg. 3 Tertuffian, tie Corma* c. 15. 

4 Porphyry, de antro nymph, c. 15. 

5 Cumont, T. et M . i. p. 322. Gregory of Nazianza (A.B. $20-390) 
is the first authority for these tortures (icoX&rtw) in point of tima 

the Mythographer gives more details, but is three centuries later. 

264 The Worship of Mithras [GEL 

sort the remark of Renan that Mithraism was a " Pagan 
Freemasonry 1 ." 

It has also been said that the true inwardness and faith df 
the religion of Mithras was in these mysteries only gradually 
and with great caution revealed to the initiates, whose fitness 
for them was tested at every step 2 . It may be so, but it is 
plain that the Mithraist was informed at the outset of at least 
a good many of the tenets of the faith. The whole Legend of 
Mithras, so far as we know it, must have been known to the 
initiate soon after entering the Mithraic chapel, since we have 
ourselves gathered it mainly from the different scenes depicted 
on the borders of the great central group of the Tauroctony. 
So, too, the mystic banquet or Mithraic Sacrament which, if 
the Heddernheim monuments stood alone, we might consider 
was concealed from the eyes of the lower initiates until the 
proper moment came, also forms one of the subsidiary scenes 
of the great altar piece in the chapels at Sarmizegetusa, Bononia 
and many other places 3 . In a bas-relief at Sarrebourg, more- 
over, the two principal persons at the banquet, i.e. Mithras and 
the Sun, are shown surrounded by other figures wearing the 
masks of crows and perhaps lions 4 , which looks as if initiates of 
all grades were admitted to the sacramental banquet. One 
can therefore make no profitable conjecture as to what particular 
doctrines were taught in the particular degrees, though there 
seems much likelihood in M, Cumont's statement that the 
to take rank in the next^woritd according 

^ ^ 

to tte degree^that | ^e^Ttei^^recciT^i^ this^. The beEeFTiEaTf 
" those who have receivdrirffffit?fe^^ have humble 

places and those that have received exalted mysteries exalted 
places " in the next world was, we may be sure, too profitable 
a one for the priests of Mithras to be neglected by them. It 

1 B^oan, Marc-Awele, p. 577. 2 Chimont, T. et M. I. p. 73. 

s Op. c&. n. p, 294, Pig. 149; p. 298, Fig. 154; p. 300, Fig. 156; p. 304, 
1^ 161 ; p. 488, fig. 421. 

* Op. <& 3- p. 175, 1^. 10. 

5 Of. c& t p. 39, n. 6, quoting lite Arda Jvrqf wma&* A qttot&taoii 
from Anadbiiffl^ 0<J0i g&mtea* vbidi f olk>ws, merely says that the Magi boast 
of tlieir ability to smooth the believers' passage to heaven. 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 265 

certainty explains the extraordinary order for the planetary 
spheres adopted by Origen 1 , according to which the souls which 
had taken the lowest degree would go to the heaven of Saturn, 
slowest and most unlucky of the planets, while those perfected 
in the faith would enter the glorious house of the Sun. 

Whether they were thought to go further still, we can only 
guess. It should be noticed that the mystic ladder of Mithras 
had eight steps, and we have seen that when the soul had 
climbed through the seven planetary spheres there was still 
before her the heaven of the fixed stars. The Sun seems in 
Origen's account of the Mithraic faith to have formed the last 
world to be traversed before this highest heaven could be 
reached ; and it was through the disk of the Sun that the 
ancients thought the gods descended to and reascended from 
the earth. This idea appears plainly in the Papyrus quoted 
above, where the Mithraist is represented as an eagle who flies 
upwards <c and alone " to heaven and there beholds all things 2 . 
He prays that he may, in spite of his mortal and corruptible 
nature, behold with immortal eyes after having been hallowed 
with holy hallowings, "the deathless aeon, lord of the fiery 
crowns, " and that " the corruptible nature of mortals " which 
has been imposed upon him by " inexorable Necessity " may 
depart from him. " Then," says the author of the fragment 
which, it will be remembered, claims to be a revelation given by 
the archangel of the great Sun-God Mithras the initiate " will 
see the gods who rule each day and hour ascending to heaven 
and others descending, and the path of the visible gods through 
the disk of the god my father will appear." He describes the 
machinery of nature by which the winds are produced, which 
sterns to be figured on some of the Mithraic monuments, and 
which reminds one of the physics supposed to be revealed in 

1 See Qiap, YID* p. 74* n. ^ SMpm. 

2 Tliat those who had taken tfce degree of Pater were called vetw or 
eagles appears from Porphyry, de Abs&men&Ot Bfc IT- e. 16. Gamont 
doubts this ; see T. et M . L p, 314, n. 8. The idea probably had its 
origin in the belief common to das^sai aati<pity that the eagle alone oooM 
fly to the sun, from which the ffiteaist thought that the souk of men 
came, aad to which those of perfect initiates wooid retan, GL op ^ c& L 
p. 291. 

266 The Worship of Mithras [OH. 

the Enochian literature. Then, after certain spells have been 
recited, the initiate sees the disk of the Sun, which opens, 
disclosing " doors of fire and the world of the gods within them." 
Then follow more invocations to the gods of the seven planetary 
worlds who appear in due course, and presumably give him 
admission to their realms. After another invocation, in what 
may possibly be some Asianic or Anatolian language very much 
corrupted, the initiate beholds " a young god, beautiful, with 
fiery hair, in white tunic and purple mantle, and having on his 
head a crown of fire," who seems to be Helios or Sol, the driver 
of the sun's chariot on the Mithraic monuments. He is saluted 
as " Mighty in strength, mighty ruler, greatest king of gods ! 
Sun, lord of heaven and earth, God of Gods ! " Next appear 
" seven virgins in linen robes having the heads of serpents," 
who are called " the seven Fortunes of heaven " and are, as 
M. Georges Lafaye surmises, the seven stars of the constellation 
of the Great Bear 1 . They are followed by seven male gods also 
dressed in linen robes and with golden crowns, but equipped 
with the heads of black bulls, who are called * e the rulers of 
the Pole." These are they, we are told, who send upon the 
impious thunders and lightnings and earthquakes. And so we 
are led at last to the apparition of <c a god of extraordinary 
stature, having a glance of fire, young and golden-haired, in 
vrfiite tunic and golden crown, clothed in anaxyrides, holding in 
his right hand the golden shoulder of a young bull." This, 
i.e. the shoulder, we are told, is called " Arctos, who moves the 
sky, making it to turn forwards and backwards according to 
the hour." But the god appears to be intended for Mithras, 
and the shoulder of the bull is probably an allusion to the bull- 
slaying scene which may serve to show that there were more 
interpretations than one placed upon the Tauroctony. The 
initiate hails this god as " Lord of water, consecrator of the 
earth, ruler of the air, shining-rayed One, of primeval rays ! " 
and the like, and continues : 

"O Lord^ having been born again, I die! Having increased and 

again iudeasbg, I come to an end by life-begotten birth, and 

coming into existence, and having been released unto death, I 

1 Lai&ye, L*Im&a&on Mitferiaqw* p. 106. 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 267 

pursue my way, as thou hast ordered from the beginning, as tlion 
hast ordained; And having accomplished the mystery, I am 
Ph&roura miouri." 

Here the fragment abruptly breaks off, and plunges into direc- 
tions for the manufacture of oracles and the other stuff common 
in Magic Papyri. One is not much inclined to believe with 
M. Cumont that the author of the galimatias knew nothing 
about Mithraism 1 , and merely introduced Mithras' name into 
his opening to impress his readers with a sense of the value of 
his recipes. It seems more likely that the writer of the frag- 
ment had really got hold of some part of a Mithraic ritual, 
which he had read without understanding it, and that he was 
trying to work more or less meaningless extracts from it into 
his spells on the same principle that the sorcerers of the 
European Renaissance used when they took similar liberties 
with the words of the Mass. If this view be adopted, it follows 
that the concluding words given above confirm the view that 
the Mithraists, like the Orphics before them, taught the metem- 
psychosis or reincarnation of souls 2 . Did the Mithraist think 
that his soul, when released from this " dread necessity," finally 
escaped from even the planetary spheres and, raising itself into 
the heaven of the fixed stars, became united with the Deity 
Himself ? We can only ask the question without being able 
to suggest an answer supported by any evidence. 

With regard to the priests who acted as celebrants in these 
strange mysteries, there are instances to be found in the in- 
scriptions which make it plain that the priestly office was not 
confined or attached to any particular degree of initiation. 
Pater Patrum (Father of Fathers) is a designation which occurs 
too frequently on the monuments for it to mean anything but 
eldest or president of those who had taken the seventh or 
highest degree in one congregation 3 . But Sae&rdos or Antistes 

1 Cumont, T. et M . n. p. 5& 

a Porphyry, de Abstinentia, Bk iv. c. 16 says this was so. 

8 Cumont, T. et M. L p. 318, n, 1, points out that an initiate might 
become Pater Patrum immediately after being made Pater or Pater 
saerorum simply. This appears from the two monuments both dated the 
same year of Vettdus Agorras Praetextatus, op. c& XL p. 95. 

268 The Worship of Mithras [CEL 

indifferently is the name by which the priest of Mithras is 
described by himself and others, and the holding of the office 
seems not to have been inconsistent with the tenure at once 
of other priesthoods and of high office in the State. Thus 
the darissimus Yettius Agorius Praetestatus, who was Urban 
Praetor, Proconsul of Achaea, Prefect of the City, Prefect of 
the Praetorians of Italy arid Illyricum, and Consul Designate 
at the time of his death, was Father of Fathers in the religion 
of Mithras besides being Pontiff of the Sun and Pontiff of Vesta 1 . 
This was at a very late date, when probably only a man of high 
civil rank dared avow on his tombstone, as did Vettius, his 
fidelity to the god ; but earlier, we find Lucius Septimius, a 
freedman of Severus, Caracalla, and Geta, acting as ** Father 
and Priest of theUnconquered Mithras in the Augustan house * J 
evidently a Court chaplain , and a certain danssimus Alf enius 
Julianus Kamenius who is of consular rank, a quaestor and a 
praetor, as a " father of the sacred things of the Highest Un- 
conquered One Mithras 2 /' So, too, we find a veteran of the 
IVth Flavian Legion acting as pater sacrorum, a decurion as 
antistes and another as sacerdos of Mithras 3 . Evidently, the 
cares of the priesthood did not occupy the priest's whole time, 
and he never seems to have lived in the temple as did the clergy 
of the Alexandrian divinities. There was, on the faith of 
Porphyry, a summus pontifex or Supreme Pontiff of Mithras, 
who like the Christian bishop in the Epistle to Timothy was 
forbidden to marry more than once 4 ; but this was probably 
a high officer of State appointed directly by the Emperor. 
No proof is forthcoming that a fire was kept perpetually burning 
on the altar in the European chapels of Mithras, as perhaps was 
the case with the temples of the faith in Asia Minor, or that 
daily or any other regularly repeated services were held there, 

1 See Ammianns Marcellinus Bk ^THT^ c. 7, for his life under Julian. 
His career is well described by Dill, Moman Society in the Last Centwry of 
ike Western Empire, 1899, pp. 17, 18, 30, 154, 155. 

2 Cttmont, T. ei M. n. p. 100, inser. 35; p. 98, inscr. 24. 

a Op. c& n. p. 130, insor. 225 ; p. 132, inscr. 239 ; p. 134, inscr. 257. 
Tfee two cleetmoos may of coarse have been decnrions ol tlie rite only, 
as to -wMck see ogat c& I. p. 326* 

Op. e& L pu 324; Tertoiiaii, Praese$& c. 40. 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 269 

and such, services moreover could seldom have been attended 
by the soldiers with the colours, who seem to have made up 
the majority of the god's worshippers. Prayers to the Sun-God 
and other deities were no doubt offered by Mithraists, possibly 
at sunrise and sunset, and perhaps special ones on the first day 
of the week, which they very likely held sacred to their god. 
But the small size of the Mithraea, and the scanty number of 
the members of the associations supporting each 1 , make it 
extremely unlikely that there was anything like regular con- 
gregational worship, or that the faithful assembled there except 
for initiations or meetings for conferring the different degrees. 
The estremely poor execution of the bas-reliefs and other 
sculptures found in the majority of these chapels all points the 
same way. Most of these, together with the furniture and what 
are nowadays called " articles de culte," were presented to the 
chapel by private members of the association 2 . The fact that 
the congregations of many chapels must have frequently 
changed by the shifting of garrisons from one end of the Empire 
to the other caused by the operations of war both external and 
civil, also helps to account for their temporary and poverty- 
stricken appearance when compared with the great and stately 
temples reared to rival gods like Serapis. 

Thus the truth of Eenan's comparison of the Mithraic faith 
with modern Freemasonry becomes more apparent, and we 
may picture to ourselves the Mithraists as a vast society spread 
over the whole of the Empire, consisting mainly of soklieis, 
and entirely confined to the male sex. The example of the 
Emperor Julian, himself a devotee of Mithras, but actively 
concerned in the propagation of the worship of other divinities, 
such as Apollo, Serapis, Mars, and Cybele^ shows that its real 
aim was not BO mucl^LecOTversion of individuals as the inclu- 
fflogj^^jati^^ ^ 

- view^tihat jTaS^xe^S&S from" "Sole those heresiarchs who had 
been banished by the Christian emperors and insisted on equal 

1 Cumoat, T. et M . L p. 65. Thirty-five seems to be the greatest 
number belonging to any one chapel. 
* Op. oft. x. p. 327. 
3 A-mm. MaxcelL passim. 

270 The Worship of Mithras [OH. 

toleration for all sects of Jews and Christians 1 . Themistius is 
no doubt merely echoing the sentiments of the Mithraist 
emperor when he writes to hi& Christian successor Jovian that 
no lover of wisdom should bind himself to any exclusively 
national worship, but should acquaint himself with all re- 
ligions 2 . God, he says, requires no agreement on this subject 
among men, and their rivalries in matters of faith are really 
beneficial in leading their minds to the contemplation of other 
than worldly things. But this highly philosophic temper was 
not reached all at once ; and it is probable that the worship of 
Mithras was, on its first importation into the West, but one 
foreign superstition the more, as little enlightened and as 
exclusively national as the Jewish, the Egyptian, or any of the 
others. It was probably its rise to imperial favour under the 
Antonines, when Commodus and many of the freedmen of 
Caesar's House were initiated, that first suggested to its votaries 
the possibility of using it as an instrument of government; 
and henceforth its fortunes were bound up with those of 
the still Pagan State. Its strictly monarchical doctrine, using 
the adjective in its ancient rather than in its modern connota- 
tion, must have always endeared it to the emperors, who were 
beginning to see clearly that in a gfwasi-Oriental despotism lay 
the only chance of salvation for the Roman Empire. Its relations 
with Mazdeism in the strict form which this last assumed after 
the religious reforms of the Sassanian Shahs have never been 
elucidated, and M. Curaont seems to rely too much upon the 
later Avestic literature to explain everything that is obscure 
,in the religion of Mithras. If we imagine, as there is reason to 
do, that Western Mithraism was looked upon by the Sassanian 
reformers as a dangerous heresy 3 , the Roman Emperors would 
have an additional reason for supporting it ; and it is significant 
that it was exactly those rulers whose wars against the Persians 
were most successful who seem to have most favoured the 

1 Neander, Gh. Hist* m. p. 136. 

s Mafflbos, vita Prodi, pp* 67, 68 ; Neander, op.dt.ULp. 136. 

s Witness be reduction of Mitara, who plays suck an important part 
in the re%ioii of Ihe Yechfi, to the f sac lower position of cMef of the Izeds 
or Yazatas in the Sassanian reform. 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 271 

worship of the Persian god. When Trajan conquered Dacia, 
the great province between the Carpathians and the Danube 
now represented by Hungary and Roumania, he colonized it 
by a great mass of settlers from every part of the Roman Empire, 
including therein many Orientals who brought with them into 
their new home the worship of their Syrian and Asianic gods 1 . 
It was hence an excellent field for the culture of a universal 
and syncretic religion such as that of Mithras, and the great 
number of Mithraea whose remains have been found in that 
province, show that this religion must have received hearty 
encouragement from the Imperial Court. From its geographical 
position, Dacia formed an effective counterpoise to the growing 
influence upon Roman policy of the Eastern provinces, and it 
might have proved a valuable outpost for a religion which was 
always looked upon with hostility by the Greek-speaking 
subjects of Rome. Unfortunately, however, a religion which 
allies itself with the State must suffer from its ally's reverses 
as well as profit by its good fortunes, and so the Mithraists 
found. When the Gothic invasion desolated Dacia, and es- 
pecially when Valerian's disaster enabled the Goths to gain a 
footing there which not even the military genius of Claudius 
could loosen, Mithraism received a blow which was ultimately 
to prove fatal. The abandonment of Dacia to the Goths and 
Vandals by Aurelian in 255 A.D., led to its replanting by a race 
whose faces were turned more to Constantinople than to Rome, 
and who were before long to be converted to Christianity m 
masse 2 . Diocletian and Ms colleagues did what they could to 
restore the balance by proclaiming, as has been said above, the 
" unconquered " Mithras the protector of their empire at the 
great city which is now the capital of the Austrian Empire ; 
but the accession of Constantine and his alliance with the 
Christian Church some twenty years later, definitely turned the 
scale against the last god of Paganism. Although the Mithraic 
worship may have revived for a moment under the philosophic 
Julian, who was, as has been said, peculiarly addicted to it, 
it possessed no real power of recuperation, and was perhaps 

1 Cumont, T. <& M. i. p. 250, for authorities. 

2 Gibbon, Dedine and FaU (Bury's ed.), L p. 260 n, 106. 

272 The Worship of Mithras [OH. 

one of the first Pagan religions to be extinguished by the 
triumphant Christians 1 . In 377 A.D., Gracchus, the Urban 
Prefect of Rome, being desirous of baptism, carried into effect 
a promise made, as St Jerome boasts, some time before, and 
breaking into a chapel of Mithras, " overturned, broke in pieces 
and cast out " the sculptures which had seen the admission of 
so many initiates 2 . His example was followed in other parts 
of the Empire, and it is probable that some decree was obtained 
from the Emperor Gratian legalizing these acts of vandalism 3 . 
It is in this reign, M. Cumont finds, that most of the Mithraea 
were wrecked, and the very few which have come down to us 
in more complete state owe their preservation to the caution of 
their congregations, who blocked or built up the entrances to 
them in the vain hope that a fresh turn of the wheel might 
again bring their own cult to the top 4 . A conservative reaction 
towards the older faiths did indeed come for a moment under 
Eugenius ; but it was then too late. The masses had turned 
from Mithraism to Christianity, and the only adherents of the 
" Capped One " were to be found among the senators and high 
officials who had long connived at the evasion of the edicts 
prohibiting all forms of Pagan worship. The invasions of 
Alaric and Attila probably completed what the Christian mob 
had begun. 

ML Cumont and Sir Samuel Dill are doubtless right when 
they attribute the downfall of Mithraism in great measure to 
its attitude towards women 5 . Mithraism was from the first 
essentially a virile faith, and had Ettle need of the softer 
emotions. Hence we find in it none of the gorgeous public 
ritual, the long hours spent in mystic contemplation before the 
altar, or the filial devotion of the flock to the priest, that we 
see in the worship of the Alexandrian Gods. In spite of the 
great authority of M. Cumont, whose statements on the subject 
seem to have been accepted without much enquiry by later 

1 Bevile, lte%t<w sous les 8&res y p. 102. 

* Ckmaoat, T. et H. t p. 347. 

3 DOE, Last Omlwryr etc. p. 29, EU 2. 

* OttEEnmt, H f M. t pw 347. 
5 Op. c& I. pp. 3^9* 330; 

xii] The Worship of Mithras 273 

writers, it will probably appear to the impartial student that 
the priests of Mithras were more like the churchwardens or 
elders of Protestant communities at the present day than the 
active and highly organized hierarchy of the Alexandrian 
divinities and of the Catholic Church. It is, as we have seen, 
most probable that they never visited their chapels except in 
company with the other devotees when an initiation into one 
or other of the seven degrees of tie cult was to be performed, 
and, judging from the scanty numbers of the congregation, this 
can only have been at fairly long intervals. Hence the daily 
prayers and sacrifices of themselves and their congregations 
were probably rendered elsewhere, either in the privacy of their 
homes, or in the temples of other gods. In neither case would 
they have much need for the assistance of women in their 
propaganda, who would, moreover, have probably felt little 
interest in a worship from the most solemn and distinctive 
parts of which they were excluded. The Mithraists therefore 
had to dispense with the support of a very large and important 
fraction of the community which was easily won over to the 
ride of their rivals. Exceptional causes such as the perpetual 
shifting of the legions from one end of the Empire to the other 
at a time when communications between them were many times 
more difficult than now, may have prevented such considerations 
for some time from having their full weight. Whem once they 
did so, the issue could not long be in doubt. 

Nor was the very real, if somewhat vague, monotheism 
which Mithraism taught, very likely to attract, at first sigfat, 
the enthusiasm of a large and mixed population engaged in dvil 
pursuits. If title conjecture made above be ecOTect^ the Mithraigt 
in tie ordinary way acknowledged no othese god tkan Mithras, 
although lie would probably have BdroMed that he was bid; 
the representative and antitype of tibe supreme Jupiter whom 
ke recognized as the official head of the State paarfheoaa. As for 
the other gods, he probably considered them as mere abstract 
personifications of tibe powers of JJatoe, who were at thse most 
lite creatures and subjects of Miifaas " the fekaid," aad whom 
it might please Mm to propitiate by acts of worship which the 
god would know how to appreciate. This is not very far from the 

L. n. 18 

274 The Worship of Mithras [CH. 

theories of the Stoics, always dear to the nobler spirits in the 
Eoman Empire, akd coupled with the high Stoic ideal of duty, 
forms one of the best working philosophies for the soldier ever 
devised. But the soldier, removed as he is from care for his 
daily necessities, and with instant and ready obedience to 
another will than his own constantly required of him, has 
always held different views on such subjects to the civilian ; 
and such ideas were rather above the heads of the crowd, sunk 
for the most part in abject poverty, utterly absorbed in the 
struggle for daily bread, and only anxious to snatch some 
passing enjoyment from a life of toil. What they, and even 
more urgently, their womenfolk needed was a God, not towering 
above them like the Eternal Sun, the eye of Mithras and his 
earthly representative, shedding his radiance impartially upon 
the just and the unjust ; but a God who had walked upon the 
earth in human form, who had known like themselves pain and 
affliction, and to whom they could therefore look for sympathy 
and help. Such a god was not to be found in the Mithraic 

For these reasons, probably, Mithraism fell after a reign of 
little more than two centuries. , Yet for good or ill, few religions 
have lived in vain ; and some of the ideas which it made 
popular in Europe have hardly yet died out. 


religion than of the^^^S^TSwhich he was said to be the 

incarnation of the Sun-God. This is fairly plain from the custom 
to which M. Cumont has lately drawn attention of releasing 
at the funeral or apotheosis of a Roman emperor a captive 
eagle, representing the soul of the dead ruler, the upward flight 
of the bird being held typical of the soul's ascension into heaven 1 . 
The connection of this practice with Mithraism is evident, since 
" eagle ** was one of the names given to the perfect Mithmist, 
OT he who had taken aE the seven degrees of Mtiatkm, and had 

*I/aagk> fon&raire des Syrians efc TapotMose des einpeareais." 

xn] The Worship of Mithras 275 

therefore earned the right to be called pater sacrorum 1 . The 
Christian emperors of Rome continued probably the practice 
and certainly the nomenclature associated with it, and Con- 
stantine and his successors were hailed by the Mithraic epithets 
of ec aeternus," cc Lnvictus," and " felix " as freely as his Pagan 
predecessors. From this period the notion of the " divinity 
that doth hedge a king " descended to comparatively modern 
times, and " Sacred Majesty " was an epithet of our own kings 
down to the reign of the last Stuart. Probably, too, it was the 
custom of releasing an eagle at a royal funeral which so im- 
pressed the popular imagination that the metaphor became 
transferred, as such things generally are sooner or later, to the 
lower ranks of the community, and the figure of the soul being 
borne aloft on wings took the place that it still occupies in 
popular Christian literature. 

The share that Mithraism had in diffusing the practices of 
magic and astrology is by no means so clear. That the Mith- 
raists, like other pagans of the early centuries, were addicted to 
magic is one of the most frequent accusations brought against 
them by Christian writers, and the word magic itself, as has 
been said above, is derived from those Magi from whom the 
Mithraists were said to have derived their doctrine. In support 
of this, it can certainly be said that the worshippers of Mithras 
by rendering a modified cult to Ahriman, whom the Christians 
identified with Satan, laid themselves open to the suspicion of 
trafficking with devils, and it is quite possible that they, like 
the followers of many other religions at the time, looked with 
favour upon the compulsion rather than the propitiation of the 
lower powers. Yet the strict monotheism of the faith which 
practically looked to Mithras for the ultimate contarol and 
regulation of all sublunary things, is oertaialy against this con- 
clusion ; and it should be noticed that the laws against the 
practices of magic and astrology, then so intertwined that it is 
difficult to separate them 2 , were quite as severe tinder emperors 
like Commodus and Diocletian who worshipped Mithras, as 

1 GL the * e solitary eagle" 

2 Maury, La Magie e& KAOrotogte, passim. The Zend Avesfca ateo 
denounces magic as did the later Manichaeism. See p. S42 infra. 

18 2 

276 The Worship of Mithras [CH. zn 

under those of their successors who professed the faith of 
Christ. The rites of Hecate, however, were, as we have seen, 
closely connected with those of Mithras and were generally in 
the hands of Mithraists. These Hecatean rites seem to have 
been almost entirely magical in their character, and it is the 
name of Hecate that was handed down as that of the patroness 
of sorcerers through the Middle Ages and the Renaissance 1 . 
0&e of the priests of Mithras also goes out of his way to declare 
on Ms epitaph that he is studiosus astrologiae, and on the whole 
the Christian accusation was probably not without foundation. 

1 As in Shakespeare's Macbeth. 



IT is generally said that tlie religion of Mithras ended and 
was absorbed in Manichaeism, which may thus be supposed to 
have inherited some, at least, of its doctrines 1 . This is one of 
those statements which are copied by one author from another 
until they acquire by mere repetition the force of an axiom; 
but its truth is not obvious, nor does it appear to rest upon any 
sound foundation. Except in the fact that both Mithraism and 
Manichaeism came in the first instance from Persia, there is 
little likeness between the two faiths, which are in all essential 
respects diametrically opposed to each other. A strict dualism, 
or the eternal antagonism of two equal principles, is the dis- 
tinguishing feature of the religion of Manes, while the worship 
of Mithras rested, as has been said in the last chapter, on an 
equally uncompromising monotheism, which made the Supreme 
Being, whether known as Jupiter or Ormuzd, at once the 
creator and the governor of the universe. In this respect, it 
drew near to Judaism, which it may Have aimed at incor- 
porating with itself, and was not ashamed to place OB its 
monuments scenes which can be referred to the Old Testament 2 . 

1 So Cumont, T* et M . L pp. 45, 349, 350. He seems to rely, however, 
entirely on the passage in the Ada Archdai (as to which see n. 1 , p. 280 infra), 
wherein the supposed bishop Arelielaiis addresses the ecpaaHy Imaginary 
Manes as "Savage priest and axxsompBce of Mithras! 5 * possibly a mere 
term of abuse* See Hegemonins, Arta Arc&da> ed. Beeson> Leipzig I06> 
c. 3X. p. 59. 

2 Cumont, T. & Jf. I. p. 41. He sees in fctte scenes which border tbe 
Tauroctony references or parallels to the %-leaves of Genesis, the sferiMng 
of the rock by Moses, and the ascension of Elijah. In fih so-called MithraJc 
Ritual of the Magic Papyrus of Pasris, there are certain Hebrew words 
introduced, such as TTITTA (a well-known perversion of the Tetra^rammaton), 
<ravxfp<*S$ and crepes tXo/i (The "Eternal Sun"). 

278 Manes and the Manichaeans [CH. 

Manichaeism, on the other hand, looked on Judaism with 
horror, rejected the Old Testament entirely, and was not 
improbably born in an outbreak of anti-Semitic fury 1 . But 
the discrepancy of doctrine is as nothing compared to the wide 
difference in those external matters which in a new religion 
most strike the imagination of the crowd, and have therefore 
much to do with its success or failure. The Mthraist was 
accustomed, as we have seen, to an allegorical and symbolical 
ritual in which the material image of his god was for ever 
before him ; but the Manichaean, as we shall see later, forbade 
the use of images and his worship consisted merely of prayers 
and hymns. The Mithraists made frequent use in their 
ceremonies of the sacrifice of animals; but the Manichaeans 
looked with displeasure on the taking of the lif e even of plants. 
The worshipper of Mithras not only gloried in the outward 
profession of his religion, but by his avoidance of the wearing 
of garlands Jojc^dHih^ 

were not of thgj&ith. The follower of Manes, on the contrary, 
^^I^SMhis religion as carefully as BasHides wished his 
followers to conceal theirs, and even went to the length of 
outwardly adopting a creed different from his own. It is not 
therefore to be wondered at that the rulers of the Roman 
Empire, whose acquaintance with the worship of Mithras was 
a thousand times more profound than our own, should have 
favoured Mithraism and have made every effort to suppress 
Manichaeism. The very emperors who placed their reformed 
State under the protection of Mithras imposed the penalty 
of death upon those of their subjects who should venture 
to teach the religion of Manes 2 . 

1 See the story which Josephus, Anliq. rs. cc. 2, 3, 4, tells about 
Izates, king of Adiabene, who wanted to turn Jew and thereby so offended 
his people that they called in against hipi Vologesea or Valkash, the first 
reforming Zoroastrian frmg and collector of the books of the Zend Avesta. 
CL Darmesteter, The Zend Avesta (Sacred Books of the East), Oxford, 1895, 
p, xl OL iSm* de Stoop La Diffusion du Manich&sme dans PEmpire 
nmfsm^ Gaad, 1909, p, 10. 

2 Oirca 296, AJX See Neander, Ck. Hist. n. p, 195, where the authen- 
ticity of ti*e decree is defended. For the provocation given to the Empire 
by t&e amM-aS^larism of Manes see de Stoop, op. c& pp. 36 37. 

XTTI] Manes and the Manichaeans 279 

Not less different were the sanctions with wMcli Mithraism 
and Manichaeism appeared in the West. The worship of 
Mithras came into the Roman world unobtrusively and without 
any claim to an exclusive revelation or special means of propa- 
ganda. But Manichaeism had at its back the personality of 
one of those wonderful men who appear at rare intervals in the 
world's history, to leave behind them a memorial of their 
empire over the minds of their fellows in the shape of a new 
creed. Manes was indeed, as the discoveries of the last decade 
have taught us, an innovator in religion entirely worthy to 
rank with Zoroaster, Buddha, and Muhammad, and when the 
difficulties in the way of his missionary activity are considered, 
his influence upon the religious ideas o! those who came after 
him was at least as marked as that of any of them. Manes or 
Hani the first being the Greek form of the name was born, 
according to his own deliberate statement, about the year 
216 A.D., in a village of Babylonia called Mardinu situate 
on the Kutha canal to the south of Ctesiphon 1 , According to 
Christian tradition, his real name was Corbicius or Kubrik and 
he was a slave of unknown birth 2 ; according to the Mahom- 
medan writers his father was one Patecius or Fatak, while his 
mother is sometimes described as the "Lady Mary," sometimes 
as a Parthian princess, and is sometimes named Karossa 3 . 
Such legends grow up naturally round the birth of all founders 
of religions, and we should believe them the less in this case 
that they have been handed down to us by the professors of 
religions bitterly opposed ^to that of Manes. Yet the story 
about the Parthian princess seems confirmed by the free access 
that he seems to have always possessed to the' court of the 
Persian monarchs of his time. Manes himself says, according 

1 Al-BirfanV Ctoonology of Ancient Nations^ 19CX The date he gwes 
is twelve years before the accession ol Ardeshtr. E. Rochat M*sm $t*r 
Mani et so, Doctrine, Gen&ve, I8$7, p. SI, examines all i&e different aeeoraate 
and makes the date from 214 to 218 A.D. 

2 Epiphanitts, Haer. LXVL c. 1, p. 399, Oehler; Socrates, Hist. Mcd. 
Bk I. c. 22 ; HegemoniuB, Ada Archdai, c, j*xiv. 

3 Muhammed ben labtak, commonly called En-iNadtm, in the book 
known as the IQirist, translated by Miigel, M aw, &dm Lekre und seine 
8c7vnftm, Leipzig, 1862, pp. 83, 116. 118, 119. Cf. Bochat, op, c&. 
p. 75. 

280 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

to Al-Biruni, that illumination came to him in his thirteenth 
year 1 ; but this is contradicted by the Fihrist, which puts the 
age at which he receiTed revelation as twenty- four 2 . The Aeta 
Archdai, a Christian source obviously suspect in the state it 
has come down to us, would make him a priest of Mithras 3 , a 
tradition which may have originated at a date when the Catholic 
Church recognized the danger to itself involved in the spread of 
the Mithraic religion. Another story would make him a Magus 
or one of the priestly caste entrusted by Ardeshir with the pro- 
pagation of the reformed religion of Zoroaster 4 , which is dis- 
credited by the fact that it was the Magi who were from the 
outset his bitterest enemies 5 . A late Oriental writer says that 
he was a Christian priest having a cure of souls at Ahvaz 6 , the 
capital city of the province of Huzitis, which again is negatived 
by the fact that he seems from his writings to have had little 
more than a hearsay knowledge of Catholic Christianity, 
although they show some acquaintance with the heresies of 
Bardesanes and Harden 7 . He is said to have acquired great 

1 Al-Btruai, CJvronoiogy, p. 190. 

* FMgel, op. c&. p. 84; Rochat, op. tit. p. 83. 

3 Hegemonies, Ada Arch. c. XK, p. 59, Beeson. Rochat, op. cit. pp. 
9-49, discusses the authenticity of the Ac&a chapter by chapter. He 
thinks the pretended discussion between Archelaus and Manes unhistorical, 
and the account of it possibly modelled on that between St Augustine and 
Faustus the Manichaean. The remainder of the Ada he considers fairly 
trustworthy as an account of Manes' own tenets. This may well be, as 
Epiphanius, Saer. LXVI. cc. 6-7, 25-31, transcribes the epistle to Mar- 
cellus, its answer, and the exposition of Turbo, and could scarcely have 
heard, as early as 375 A.D., about which time he wrote, of St Augustine's 
discussion. The Acta owe much to the care oi the American scholar, 
Mr Beeson of Chicago, who has given us the careful edition of them 
mentioned in n. 1, p. 277 supra. It is a pity that he did not see his way to 
keep ihe old numeration of the chapters. 

4 Beausobre, Hist, du Manich&sme, Paris, 1734, Pt I. Bk n. cc. 1-4. 
CL Stokes in Ztict. Christian Biog. s.v. Manes; Eochat, op. cit. p. 83. 

* Bochat, op. c&. p. 89. 

in Kessler, Fors^ngeK Ober die MamcMische Re&gion, 
i.p.335;Itochat,op.c^.p.84; Neander, Oh. Hist. n. p. 168. 
p. 85. CL Al-Btrfcni, Iswfo (ed. Sachau), p. 55, where 
Manes fo&B iis0 opMozi of Bardesaues* "parfeans." These are maaay 
words put into ft* moi^ of Maiies m Mie work quoted wfaich 
acquaintaiice with tlte Ks*wr Sapkia. 

xm] Manes and the Manichaeans 281 

skill in painting which he used to illustrate Ms teaching 1 , and 
to have been a learned mathematician and astronomer. This 
is likely enough; but the only events of his life which seem 
well attested, are that he began at an early age to propagate 
his doctrine and that he succeeded in converting to it Peroz or 
Firiiz the son of Ardeshir, through whose means he obtained 
a formal hearing from Sapor or Shapur, the conqueror of 
Valerian and Ardeshir's successor, shortly after this king's 
accession to the throne 2 . Sapor seems to have listened to 
Manes with respect and, according to an Oriental writer, to have 
even favoured his propaganda, until the Magi, to whom the 
revival of the Zoroastrian religion had been committed, con- 
vinced him of his error 3 . On this, Manes was exiled from 
Persia and retired, says Al-Biruni, to India, China, and Thibet 
preaching his gospel 4 . On Sapor's death, he returned to Persia 
under Hornaisdas or Ormuz, and again, it is said, succeeded in 
converting to his tenets the reigning monarch 5 . On Varanes' 
or Bahrain's accession to the throne the following year, however, 
he was seized and put to death as a heretic after a disputation 
with the Chief of the Magi, in which he failed to support the 
test of an ordeal by molten metal proposed to him 6 . The most 
likely account of his death narrates that he was decapitated, 
and that his skin stuffed with straw was suspended at the gate 
of the town where the execution took place 7 . This was followed 

1 Abulmaali in Kessler, op. tit* p. 371 ; Firdausi, ibid. p. 375 ; 

ibid. p. 379. Of. Rochat, op. cit. p. 81. He is said to have painted Iris 
pictures in a cave in Turkestan (Stokes in Diet. Christian Biog. &t*. Manes), 
which would agree well enough with the late German discoveries at Tnrfan 
for which see A. von Le Coq. in J.R.A.S. 1909, pp. 299 agg. 

2 ntigel, op. tit. p. 85. 

3 Al-JaMbi in Resale*, op. cfa. pp. 328* 32$; cf. Boctefe, op. att p. 8&. 

4 Al-BMni, Chronology, ^ 191, 19& 

5 Bochat, op. c&k. p. 8& AJ-Btotnl, wteaa he quotes, kwever, sajs 
merely that the Mani0haeai*s increased tinder Ormnz* and also that Omroa 
"killed a number of them." See last note. 

6 -Al-Jakubi in Kesskr, op. e&. p, 33& But Darmesteter (see passage 
quoted in n. 2, p. 284 infra) puts this event as happening after Ormm' 
death and under Shaptnr H 

7 AL-Bfruni, Cfoonology, p 191. The town is called Djnndi-s4b^r or 

282 Manes and the Manichaeam [OH. 

by a great persecution of the Mardchaeans throughout Persia, 
and it is fairly evident that this, like his own fate, was due to 
the hostility he had aroused in the Magi 1 . The date of his 
death is fixed with some accuracy at 275 AJD., so that he would 
then have reached the age of sixty years 2 . 

The causes underlying this sudden appearance of a new 
religion are doubtless to be looked for in the political and 
religious history of Persia at the time. Ardeshir, as has been 
said above, gave new life to the feeling of Persian nationality 
which the Parthian Kings had kept alive during Greek supre- 
macy in Asia, and succeeded in again founding a Persian 
JSmpira Like Alexander, Antiochus Epiphanes, and again, 
Diocletian, he seems to have been thoroughly alive to the great 
effect that a faith common to the whole empire would have in 
uniting the peoples under Ms sway. 

"Never forget," he says in the supposed testament that he is said to 
have left for the guidance of his son Sapor, "that as a king you 
are at once the protector of religion and of your country. Consider 
the altar aixl the throne as inseparable and that they must always 
sustain each other. A sovereign without religion is a tyrant, 
and a people which have no religion may be deemed the most 
monstrous of all societies. Religion may exist without a State, 
but a State cannot exist without religion ; and it is by holy laws 
that a political association can alone be bound 3 ." 

Yet in spite of these sentiments, more pithily expressed perhaps 
in the "No bishop, no king" of our own James I, the task of 
founding a common religion for the whole of the new Persian 
empire must have presented some uncommon difficulties. 
Apart from the strong Semitic element dominant in their 
Babylonian province, the Parthians had always been eclectic 
in matters of faith, and Vonones, one of the last kings of 
Parthia, had shown himself to be a PMlheUene of a type which 
must have been peculiarly offensive to a sovereign who was 

1 Al-Jakabi, w& ot supra ; Entychins quoted by Stokes, Dick, Clwisiian 
Biag. .?. Maaaes, 

2 Bocsba*fc> &p e& p. 93, examines afl the evidence for this and comes to 
the conahisk>n given in the text. 

8 Malcolm, Msfrmf of Per&a, Loodoaa, 1821, VoL i. pp. 95, 96, 

sin] Manes and the Manichaeans 283 

trying to revive the old Persian nationality 1 . The worship of 
Mithras, the god most favoured by the legions with whom 
Ardeshir was soon to be at death-grips, must have been equally 
out of the question ; and the knowledge of this is probably to 
be seen in the low place in the celestial hierarchy assigned to 
the old Vedic god in the Avesta of Ardeshir's day 2 . The 
Jewish religion in Central Asia had lately given signs of prosely- . 
tizing fervour, and it was the going-over of a Parthian kinglet 
against the will of his people to the Jewish faith which first, 
according to one account, gave the excuse for the intervention 
of Vologeses or Valkhash and the subsequent reformation or 
revival of the Zoroastrian religion 3 . At the same time, Christi- 
anity had already begun to share with Mithraism the devotion 
of the legions stationed on the Roman frontier, and in the 
Gnostic form favoured by the teaching of Marcion and 
Bardesanes was pushing into Persia from Armenia and Edes&a 4 . 
Nor can we doubt that Buddhism, already perhaps struck with 
decay in its native country of India 5 , but flourishing exceedingly 
further East, was trying to obtain a foothold in that very 
Bactria which was afterwards said to have been the historic 
scene of Zoroaster's activity. Other small, but, as the event 
was to show, highly vitalized faiths, were current in Western 
Asia, and the power of the Magi when Ardeshir overthrew the 
Parthian power had declined so greatly that the statues of the 
Parthian kings were placed in the temples of the gods and 
adored equally with those of the divinities 6 . The Persians of 
Herodotus' time, who did not believe in deities who had the 
same nature as men, would have blushed at such a profanation, 

1 G. Bawlinson, Tfa 6ifc Oriental Monarchy 1873, p, 222; Roefeafc, ep. 
tit. p, 53. 

2 See Gbapu XII supra, p. 232. 8 See n- 1, p. 278 aitpra. 

4 Al-BiruinV <7fe*m. p. 187, mafees Maees the sinxsesscr cr c<mfc^atoc ^ 
Bardesanes and Mar<a<m. This WB*S certainly not so; but it was probably 
only from their followers that he derived any aoqiiaiataaoe with Christi- 
anity. Seen. 1 9 p. %8Qsupra. So Mtthammad or Mahommed, four centuries 
later, drew his ideas of the same f aitli from tfce heretics of Ms day. 

* Rhys Davids, BvdtiMst India, 1903, JK 318, says that alter 300 A.D. 
Buddhism was everywhere in decay in India. 

* Bochat, op. cit, p. 58. 

284 Manes and the Manichaeam [OH. 

Prom this unpromising welter of creeds and cults, ArdesMr 
delivered the State by restoring the worship of Ahura Mazda 
as the State religion. One of his first cares was to collect the 
fragments of the books which we now know as the Zend Avesta, 
in which the revelations of the national prophet Zoroaster were 
set down in a language not then understanded of the people. 
It was afterwards said that the MSS. of these books had pur- 
posely been destroyed or scattered by Alexander ; but the fact 
seems to be that they had fallen into discredit through the 
turning-away of the Persians towards Hellenic and Semitic 
gods ; and that a previous attempt to restore their authority 
by Valkhash or Vologeses I, the Parthian king who reigned 
from 50 to 75 A.D., had met with little encouragement from his 
subjects 1 . Most modern scholars are now agreed that the 
Avesta and the literature that grew up round it contain many 
doctrines not to be found in the Persian religion current in 
Aehaemenian times, and evidently brought into it from foreign 
sources under the Hellenistic and Parthian kings. Such as it is, 
however, the Av^ta. formed the Sacred Book of Ardeshir's 
reformation ; while, in the order of the Magi, by him restored 
to more than their former power, the reformed Zoroastrian 
faith possessed an active, established, and persecuting Church, 
which reigned in Persia without a serious rival until the Mahom- 
medan invasion. 

Yet the first struggles of the reformation must have been 
sharp, and Darmesteter was doubtless justified when he saw in 
Manichaeism the first and possibly the strongest expression of 
the revulsion of Ardeshir's subjects against the rigid orthodoxy 
which he sought to impose upon them 2 . That such a feeling 
persisted for some time is plain from the fact that Manes' 
"heresy" is said by Al-Birunl to have been followed by that of 
Mazdak, who seems to have preached, like the Antinomian 
seets of Cromwell's time, a kind of Socialism including the 
of women and of property 3 . There arose also 
tike same time or a little later the sect of Zervanists 

1 Daarmestetec, 2/md Atiestct* pp. xl, xlL 

* Op. oft. pfk xftrii ggr. 

* Al-Mrt^OJbtm. p. 192. 

xm] Manes and the Maniehaeans 285 

referred to in the chapter on Mithras, who taught that Bound- 
less Time was the origin of all things and was superior to 
Ormuzd and Airman, to both of whom he was said to have 
given birth. They seemed to have gained great power in the 
reign of Yezdegerd II; and, if we may trust the Armenian 
authors, a proclamation commanding adherence to their 
doctrines was put forth by Yezdegerd's general Mihr Neraes on 
his invasion of Armenia in 450 A.D. 1 But the earliest and most 
enduring of these heresies or rebellions against the purified 
and restored religion of Ahura Mazda appears to have been 
that of Manes. 

Were now the doctrines that Manes preached to his own 
undoing his invention, or did he draw them from some pre- 
existent source? It is said, in a Christian account which faas 
come down to us, that they were the work of one Scythianus 2 , 
a native, as his name implies, of " Scythia" (which here probably 
means Turkestan) and a contemporary of the Apostles, who 
married an Egyptian slave and learned from her all the wisdom 
of the Egyptians 3 . With the help of this and the tincture of 
dualism which he extracted from "the works of Pythagoras," the 
story goes on to say, Scythianus constructed a system which 
he taught to a disciple named Terebinthus, otherwise called 
Buddas or Buddha, before his own death in Judaea 4 . This 

1 Elisaeus Vaitabed in Langlois' Collection de& #&& de 

Paris, 1&68, t. n, p, 190. The story is repeated almost word for wm& fej 
Eznig of Goghp, ibid. p. 875. Cf, Neander, Ch. Hist. EL p. 171. 

2 Hochat, op. e&., following Keseler, shows, it seenus, coecii^peiy, that 
ihk is another name for Maaes' father, Fatak or Pafcedras. 

3 ^ewa^acMMirtea^atHyps^ 

Maer. LXVT. c. 11, p. 400, Geliler. As Baair, Die MambMteeite E^Mgim*- 
syst&m, Tubingen, 1831, p. 46$ sqq. ifcas fotoed out, this is prdbdbty an 
imitation of the story told ab^it limoB Magus and Ms Helena (see Cttap. 
VI swpr&)* It seems to have arwen as an* ewiJToMery, qrate in Epa^pfeaniBs* 
manner, upon ti^ sfeoiy in O& Adfa, H&& Seytfeianias married a aptive 
imnx the Upper Thebald (SegemeMe^ op* <#L c. I^SEL p, 90, Beesoe). 

4 Many guesses have keen madse m to the atosices oonoealed mnckr 
iiiese names, as to which see Boohast, o^ ciL pp. 4-7$. N^u^er (C*. 
Hist. u. p. 16) quotes from Bitfeer ifce si^gea^om tibatTeiebnAmmay 
icom an epithet of Bmd^a, Tew-Unfa "Lord of the Hiodm** 
wonders n4e*her it m%ht not have keen as fitfy given to a Jewish sla^e 

286 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

Terebinthus gave out that he was born of a virgin and had been 
nursed by an angel on a mountain; and he also wrote four 
books in which the doctrines of Scythianus were set down 1 . 
These books he entrusted to an aged widow with whom he 
lived, and he was afterwards struck dead while performing a 
magical ceremony. On his death, she bought a boy of seven 
years old named Corbicius, whom she enfranchised, and to 
whom she left her property and Terebinthus 9 books some five 
years later. Thus equipped, Corbicius took the name of 
Manes, which may signify "Cup" or "Vessel 2 ," and began to 
preach. This history has evidently been much corrupted and 
by no means agrees with the account before quoted from 
Oriental sources which bears greater marks of authenticity; 
but it is thought by some to be, like the 14th chapter of Genesis, 
a sort of allegory in which the names of peoples and systems 
are given as those of individual men 3 . If this be so, we should 
perhaps see in Scythianus the representative of those non- 
Aryan tribes of Medes of whom the Magi formed part, while 
in the name of Buddha we might find that of one of those 
Judaean communities holding a mixture of Magian and 
Buddhist tenets who according to one tradition were for long 
encamped near the Dead Sea 4 . Yet there is nothing specifically 
Buddhist or Egyptian about the doctrines of Manes as we 
know them 5 , and if there were any likeness between the 

sold at the Fair of the Terebinth with which Hadrian closed his war of 

1 These four books may have been intended for the Shapurakhan, the 
Treasure, the Gospel and the Capitularies, which Al-Biruni, Chron. p. 171, 
attributes to Hani. Cf. Epiphanius, Haer. LXVI. c. 2, p. 402, Oehler, 
and the Scholia of Theodore bar Khoni in Pognon, Inscriptions Mandates 
des Coupes de Ehouabir, pp. 182, 183. 

2 Epiphanrus, op. tit. c. 1, p. 398, Oehler. 

3 Colditz hi Kessler, op. tit* pp. 15, 16. Cf. Bochat, op. tit. pp. 65, 66. 

4 Morrison, Jews under Romans, p. 325 for authorities. Philo, de Vit. 
ContempL etc. c, m. says that similar communities existed in his time near 
tlie Maaceotie lake in Hgypt. But the date of the treatise and its attribution 
to Pnilo are alike uncertain. The first mention of Buddha in Ckeek 
literates is said to be that by CLem, Alex. Strom. Bk L c. 15. 

6 Hamack in J^e, jBrtiomk 9t& edition, .. Manichaeans, p. 48, 
says "Tlfeeffe is not a single point in iaa&haeism which <Iomaads for ite 

xin] Manes and the Manichaeans 287 

mythology and observances of the cult and those of its prede- 
cessors, it was probably introduced by Manes' followers rather 
than by himself 1 . As to the doctrines of the Magi, Manes 
certainly had no occasion to go to Judaea to find them; for 
in the Persia of Ardeshlr and Sapor he must have heard quite 
as much of them as he wished. 

Probably, therefore, the Christian account of Manes* sources 
is untrue, or rather, as M. Rochat suggests, it was composed at a 
time and place in which Manichaeism had become a heresy or 
alternative creed attached, so to speak, not to Zoroastrianism but 
to Christianity, and had picked up from this and other faiths 
many accretions 2 . The doctrine of Manes which has come 
down to us from other sources is extremely simple, and seems 
to accord better with the Puritanical simplicity of life and 
ritual afterwards practised by his followers. Both the 
Christian and the Mahommedan traditions agree that he believed 
that there were two gods, uncreated and eternal, and ever- 
lastingly opposed to each other 3 . One of these is the God of 
Light and the other the God of Darkness; but he does not 
seem to have given any specific or proper name to either*. 
It is possible that this last-named being may have been identified 

explanation an appeal to Buddhism." This may be, but the discoveries 
at Turf an and Tun-huang have made a connection between the two more 
probable than appeared at the time he wrote. See also Kesskr as quoted 
by Ttochat, op. ciL pp. 192, 193. 

1 This appears from the Chinese Treatise at Pekin mentioned later. 
See p. 293, n. 2. 

2 Rochat, op. cti. p. 194. So Socrates, MccL Hist. Bk x. a 2S, calk 
Manichaeism "a sort of heathen fEXXjyvtfaw) Christianity,'* 

3 Hegemonrus, Ada, c, TO. p. 91, Beeson; Pt&gel, Of^ c& 
p. 86, 

* Certainly noixe is recorded in to Christian aeeotints, wtee B*rtaess 
is called Hyle or Matter. En Madlm(IBgel, <^ c& p. 8$) makes Maaes 
call the good God "the King of to Iteadte of Light" and (p. 90) ito 
Spirit of Darkness* Hiamm&ma* Sclta&ra#t&ai, as quoted in ItSgeTs Bote 
( jx 240), makes this word mesa "inirk" or "smoke** (Qmlm). It wwM be 
curious if Humm&ma had any coimeefcion with the Blamifce Khtimbaba, 
the opponent of the Babylcmian hero G%aBoesh, because this persoei*@& 
already figures in Ctesias' story about N^majos, which ha& been recognized 
as a myth relating to the Moon-god, 

288 Manes and the Maniehaeans [OH. 

by hi with. Matter 1 , although this would seem to be a remnant 
of the Platonic philosophy of which there is no other trace in 
his teaching. But it is certain that he regarded the God of 
Darkness as entirely evil, that is to say, malevolent, and as 
a power to propitiate whom man should make no attempt. 
"I have considered it needful to despatch this letter to you" 
says an epistle which there is much reason to consider expresses 
the opinions, if not the actual words, of Manes Mm self 2 : 

"first for the salvation of your soul and then to secure you against 
dubious opinions, and especially against notions such as those teach 
who lead astray the more simple (airXovcrrepot), alleging that both 
good and evil come from the same Power, and introducing but one 
principle, and neither distinguishing nor separating the darkness 
from the light, and the good from the bad and the evil (<a{)Aov), 
and that wMch is without man from that which is within him, as 
we have said formerly, so that they cease not to confuse and mingle 
ne thing with another. But do not thou, my son, like most men, 
^unseasonably and foolishly join the two together nor ascribe them 
both to the God of Goodness. For these teachers attribute to God 
the beginning and the end, and make him the father of these ills the 
end wfwMdh is new a curse 3 " 

Although this epistle bears evident marks of having been 
worked over and amplified by some writer of a later age than 
that of the founder of Manichaeism, there cannot be much 
doubt that it contains his teaching on the Two Principles of 
all things. In the Christian account of Manes' doctrine which 

1 TO Tf}s v\7fs fypwupyTjiM 'Hegemonius, Acfa, c. vm. p. 9, Beeson. Cf. 
Alexander of Lycopolis, adv. Manichaeo& 9 c. n. 

2 Epiph. Hagr. ;LXVL c. 6, p. 408, Oehler; Hegemonius, Ada, c. v. 
pp. 5-7, Beeson. The authenticity of the letter is defended by Kessler, 
<xp. c&. p. 166. Cf. Boehat, op. tit. p. 94 contra. 

8 T&V KctK&v TT\ TOW 6*ov ava^powTiv^ <v TO TeXoff Kccrdpas yyu$. It is 
^pideotly intended for a quotation from Heb. vi. 8, which however puts 
ife xatbei? ^Kfietentfy as K<ppovcra $e aicdvOas KCU Tptfto\ovs aftoKLftos KOL 
*C<ZF<%WI$ eyyuff* ? TO T^CS? lt KO&&LV. "But that which beareth thorns and 
feraees is t i*e refected aakl is nigh unto cursing; wfcose end is to Jae 
feaadaett** Hie Kfata&iwg&fi or MatBehaean eoirfession mentioned Jaler 
repeats this phraee aboat O0i m& beit^ tJae ei?ealojr of evfl as we! as of 
good. See 

xni] Manes and the Manichaecwis 289 

M. Rochat thinks earlier than the epistle quoted above, Manes' 
quondam follower Turbo says after recantation that his master 
reverences two gods " unbegotten, self-existing (ct-uro^ue^j), 
eternal and set over against each other/ 5 and that "he repre- 
sents one as good, the other as wicked, giving to the one the 
name of Light and to the other that of Darkness 1 ." So, too, 
the Mahommedan writers who give what seems to be an inde- 
pendent account of Manes' opinions are agreed that he deduced 
the origin of the world from "two Original Principles, one of 
which is Light and the other Darkness, and which are separated 
one from the other 2 ." The absolute opposition from "the outset 
of good and evil therefore formed the pivot of Manes' whole 
system, and was opposed quite as much to the Christian and 
Jewish creeds as to the Mithraic and other modifications of 
Persian religious ideas then or later in vogue, which held that 
evil like good was the creation of the Supreme Being, and that 
Ahriman or Pluto was a god having subordinate authority to, 
but of the same nature as, Ormuzd or Zeus. This uncompro- 
misingly dualistic theory gives an origin to evil independent 
of that of good, and can only lead logically to the assertion of 
its eternity. Whether Manes gave utterance to it for the first 
time, or derived it from a theology then current in Persia, there 
is little evidence to show 3 . The Zend Avesta itself in. its 
Sassanian recension does not seem to pronounce clearly on this 
point, and has been thought by some high authorities to teach 

1 Hegemonius, Acta, c. vn. p. 9, Beeson. 

2 En Nadim in Kessler, op. tit. pp. 386, &&. Kessier's traajsla&oa of 
En Nadim, which is given in the first Appendix to the work quoted, 
differs slightly from that of Miigel and depends on a somewhat better text 
than the last-named. It is therefore used when possible in the remaining 
notes to this chapter. Fingers book, however, has the advantage of a 
commentary of some 300 pages marked with great erudition, and must 
still be consulted by anyone wishing to be acquainted with its subject. 

3 Plutarch, de Is. et Os. c. xtv.^ says, however, that "evil must have a 
principle of its own," so that it cannot be the work of a benevolent being. 
As he is generally supposed to have taken his account of the Persian 
teaching from Theopompos of Chios, who was at the Court of Ptolemy 
about 305 B.O., his evidence is against those who, like M. Gumont, wouM 
make the "Zervanist" opinion, which assumes a common principle for 
good and evil, pre-Christian, Yet the point does not yet seem capable 
of decision, as Plutarch may here be only giving us his own opinion* 

I, n. 19 

290 Manes and the Manicliaeans [OH. 

the subordinate origin and ultimate extinction of evil 1 , and by 
others exactly the reverse. It does, however, seem to be clear 
that unless Manes invented de novo the doctrine above quoted, 
it must have been from Persia that he obtained it. No other 
country with which he can have become acquainted has yet 
been shown to possess it 2 . 

Exclusively Oriental, too 3 in its origin must be the history 
of the conflict between these two Principles which follows. 
Each of them apparently dwelt in his own domain for countless 
ages untroubled by the existence of the other. The Light is 
the uppermost and is, according to the Mahommedan version 
of Manes' doctrine, without bounds in height and on each side. 
The Darkness lies below it, and is in like manner boundless in 
depth and in lateral extent 3 . Hence there is a long frontier 
at which they touch, and this spot was filled from the beginning 
by the celestial air and the celestial earth. If we may read 
into the tradition something which is not expressed there, but 
which seems to follow logically from it, this atmosphere and 
this earth were the heavier parts of the Divine substance, 
which sinking down, formed a kind of sediment or deposit 4 . 
Each of these Two Principles has five "members 3> or components, 

1 Casarldli, op. cte. p. 44. 

2 This i& really the cntx of the whole question. If the idea could be 
traced back to the philosophers of Ionia (e.g* Heraclitus of Ephesus) and 
tiieir theory of eternal strife and discord being the cause of all mundane 
phenomena, it is difficult to say whence the lonians themselves derived it, 
save from Persia. We can, of course, suppose, if we please, that the 
Persians did not invent it de ncvo f but took it over from some of their 
subjects. Among these, the Babylonians, for instance* from the earliest 
times portrayed their demons as not only attempting to invade the heaven 
of the gods, but as being in perpetual warfare with one another. But 
flie very little we know of Babylonian philosophy would lead us to think 
tiiat it inclined towards pantheism of a materialistic kind rather than to 

3 Eii Hadim, in Kessler, op. tit. p. 387 ; Fliigel, op. cti. p. 86. 

4 Tike likeness of this to the cosmogony of the Ophites and their successor 
Tateferaus is of course marked (cf . Chaps. Yin and IX supra). Manes 
naay liave borrowed It directly from Vaibntinus* follower, 
whose cfocfews were powerful in Edessa and Mesopotamia in his lame, or 
fee naaj I*Ye taken ifc at first-hand from Persian or BabyloEaam tradition. 

Manes w^aa ao^naii^ed "witih Bardesanes* doeiarinfis* see n. 7, p. 280 

xm] Manes and the Manickaeans 291 

and tliis partition into fiVe seems in the Manichaean teaching 
to run tlLrongh. all things. Thus, the Mahommedan tradition 
tells us that the "members" of the God of Light are Gentleness, 
Knowledge, Intelligence, Discretion, and Discernment, those of 
the Air the same five, of the (celestial) earth, the Breeze or 
Ether, Wind, Light, Water, and Fire, and of the Darkness 
Smoke, Flame, Hot Wind, Poison or Pestilence, and Gloom 
or Fog 1 . In this, and especially in its deification of abstract 
principles, we may see a reflection of Gnostic teaching which 
may easily have reached Manes from Yalentinus by way of 
Bardesanes and the Oriental or Edessan School. On the other 
hand, the borrowing may have been the other way, and Simon 
Magus may have obtained these notions from the Persian Magi 
and have handed them on to Valentinus and his successors. 
This does not seem so likely as the other, but the point can 
hardly be settled until we know more than we do at present 
of the state of the Persian religion from the time of the 
Achaemenian kings to the Sassanian reform. 

However that may be, both the Christian and Mahommedan 
traditions are agreed that the aggressor in the struggle between 
the good God and the bad was the Evil One. The Mahommedan 
source, here fuller than the Christian, tells us that the Darkness 
remained in an unorganized condition for ages, although 
consisting of the five members enumerated above. These parts, 
however, seem to have sunk down and produced aaotfeer 
Earth called the Darker Earth, from which in course of time 
came forth Satan. Satan was not, like the King of the Paradise 
of Light, without beginning, but came into being from the 
union of these five members of Darkness, having the head of 
a lion, the body of a serpent, the wings of a bird, the tail of 
a fish, and four feet like those of crawling animals 2 , IB which, 
figure we Ectay see a MrkL of refieetkm of ifee Mtthraie Airiman*. 

1 En Nadim in Kessleav op. e&. p. 387; M%1, op. e& p. 86. Fuel's 
text adds to tfeese members other " serais ** wiiich he aaDEte& Lovey Belief, 
Faith, Generosity, and Wisdom. Kessle* substitutes Courage for 
Generosity and seems to make these "mmla" tike members* cbrivatives. 

2 See last note. 

3 See Chapter XII, p. 251 supra* Here,, again, the traditioiialaj^nKMastrocis 
fignre <ft Satan may have been copied from fche scolptoed rejresea^taons 
of the composite demons of Babylonia (e$. Rogers* Re&gion, of Babgfema 

292 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

Satan, on his emergence on the Darker Earth, perceived the 
rays of light from the upper world, piercing as we may suppose 
through the gloomy atmosphere of his own world, and conceived 
a hatred for them. Seeing, too, that these rays gained much 
in strength by their combination and mutual support, he 
withdrew within himself so as to unite himself more closely 
with Ms members 1 . Then again springing upwards, he invaded 
the realms of Light with the intention of there spreading 
calamity and destruction. The aeon or world as the Fihrist 
calls it of Discernment was the first to be aware of this 
invasion 2 , and reported it to the aeon Knowledge, from whom 
it passed to the others in turn until it at last reached the ear 
of the Good God, here, as elsewhere in the Fihrist, called the 
King of the Paradise of Light. With the aid of the Spirit of 
Hs Right Hand, of his five worlds or members before mentioned, 
and of his twelve elements, of which we have before heard 
nothing*, he made the First Man, clothing him by way of 
armour with the five " species" or powers of the celestial earth, 

<md Assyria, IVontispiece and Figs. 1 and 13). Yet if we take the 
Miiforaic Eon, as M. Cumont would have us do, as the symbol of fire and 
the serpent as that of the earth, we have in the five sorts of animals the five 
crrot^ela or elements of Aristotle. Cf. Aetms, de Placitis PMlosogJi&rum,. 
ed. Didot, Bk i. c. iii. 38 (Plutarch, MoraZia, n.), p. 1069. Yet the nearest 
source from which Manes could have borrowed the idea is certainly Barde- 
saaes, who, according to Bar Khoni and another Syriac author, taught 
that the world was made from five substances, i.e. fire, air, water, light 
and darkness. See Pognon, op. c&. p. 178; Gumont, La Casmogonie 
ManicMenne d*apre$ TJi4odore bar Kh6ni, Bruxelles, 1908, p. 13, n. 2. 

1 En Xadim in Kessler, op. cU. p. 388 ; JBliigel, op. tit. p. 87. As the 
ajacients were unacquainted with the properties of gases, it is singular that 
they should have formed such a conception as that of the compressibility 
and. expansibility of spirits, Yet the idea is a very old one, and the Arabian 
Nights story of the Genius imprisoned in a brass bottle has its parallel in 
fihe bowls with magical inscriptions left by the Jews on the site of Babylon 
(X*ayard, Nineveh and Babylon, 1853, pp. 509 &[%.)> between pairs of which 
demons were thought to be imprisoned. Cf. Pognon, op. cvt. p. 3. Some- 
thing of the kind seems indicated in the "little Point," from which all 
xaafeedal powears spring, ref erred to by HSppolytus and the Bruce Papyrus. 

* 6a int 1&e P&J&S Bopkta* it is the "last Parastates" or assistant world 
-wito b^eaHies ligjht into the Keirasmos, and tihus sets on foot the scheme of 
redetoptofc. d CSi^feer X p. 146 swpra. 

a Yei ite 3^Ktea^Erf^l lj)b spe&ks of t&e twelve **members" of 

XTTT] Manes and the Manichaeans 293 

the Breeze, Wind, Light, Water and Fire as before enumerated 1 . 
With these He despatched Mm to fight Satan, who in his turn 
did on his armour in the shape of his five "species," Smoke, 
Flame, Poison, Hot Wind, and Gloom 2 . The fight lasted 

1 Thus En Nadim in Kessler, op. cti, pp. 388, 389 ; Fliigel, op, dt. p 87. 
But here the Christian tradition gives more details than the Mahommedan. 
Hegemonius, Acta, c. vn., p. 10, Beeson, and Bar Khdni (Pognon, p. 185), 
are in accord that the God of Light produced from himself a new Power 
called the M^p rfs Z&rjs or Mother of Life, that this Mother of life pro- 
jected the First Man, and that the First Man produced the five elements 
called also his "sons," to wit, wind, light, water, fire and air, with which 
he clothed himself as with armour. See Cumont, Cosmog. Manick* p. 16, 
n. 4, for the harmonizing of the texts [N.B. the omission of vvp from his 
quotation from the Acta is doubtless a clerical error]. The identification 
of the Mother of Life with the "Spirit of the Right [Hand]" is accepted by 
Bousset, Hauptprobleme, pp. 177, 178, and may be accounted for by the 
crude figure by which the Egyptians explained the coming-forth of the 
universe from a single male power. See Budge, Hieratic Papyri in the 
Brit. Mus. p. 17. 

* These were also the "sons" of Darkness or Satan. See Bar Khdni 
(Pognon, p. 186). The reason that led the God of Light to send a champion 
into the lists was, according rf to Bar Khdni (Pognon, p. 185), that the five 
worlds of his creation were made for peace and tranquillity and could 
therefore not help him directly in the matter. Of. St Augustine, de Natnra 
Boni, c. xur. But Manes doubtless found it necessary to work into his 
system the figure of the First Man which we have already seen prominent 
in the Ophite system. Cumont, Cosmog. Manich. p. 16, says few eoncep- 
tions were more widely spread throughout the East. It is fully exsamned 
by Bousset, Hauptprobleme, in his ivth chapter, "Dear Urmeosok" The 
First M^n is, in the Chinese treatise lately found at Tun-huang in circum- 
stances to be presently mentioned, identified with the Persian Qramzid 
and the five elements are there declared to be Ms sons. See Obavaaanes 
and Pelliot, Un TraMMamch&w, re&ow4&& Ckme, pfc I, Jomwrt AmoOgpie, 
serie x., t. xvra. (l&ll), pp. 51% 513. The 12 elements which helped in 
his formation seem to bo m^ortioiied % no oifeer author tlian Si Kadto. 
St Augustine, however, Oonir& lip*8iw$m Iw%$ame!f&it c. IS, speaks of 
the "12 members of light." Tfe Tua-hoang treatise also mentioiJS "the 
12 great kings of victorious focia** wbom it seems to Mken to tike 12 Ijoors 
of the day. As the Pis&a SopJ&ia does tike saroe witfc tlie "12 Aeom" 
who are apparently the signs of the Zodiac, ifc is possible that we here have 
a sort of super-celestial Zodiac belonging to && Paradise of Light* of wfei^ 
that in our sky is a copy. It should be reinembared itel in tto Asiatic 

294 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

long, but in the end Satan triumphed, and dragged the First 
Man down into the Realm of Darkness, where he took from him 
his light 1 . During the fight, too, the elements had become 
mingled, so that the Ether henceforth was -mixed with the 
Smoke, the Fire with the Flame, the Light with the Darkness, 
the Wind with the Hot Wind, and the Cloud with the Water. 
This it is which brings about the confusion or mixture seen in 
the present world, wherein everything which is beautiful, pure, 
or useful, such as gold and silver, comes from the armour of 
the First Man, and everything foul, impure, and gross, from 
that of his infernal opponent 2 . After the fight, the King of 
the Paradise of Light descended with another Power called the 
Friend of the Lights, who overthrew Satan, and the Spirit of 
the Eight Hand or Mother of Life recalled, either by her voice 
or by another power called the Living Spirit, the First Man from 
his prison in the lowest Darkness. The First Man, on his 
deliverance, in this account mounts again to the Realms of 
Light, but before doing so "cuts the roots" of the Five Infernal 

cosmogonies the fixed stars belong to the realm of good as the representa- 
tives of order, while the planets or "wanderers" are generally evil 

1 En Hadim in Kessler, op. dt. p. 389; Fltigel, op. tit. pp. 87, 88. 
According to the Christian tradition, the Powers of Darkness devoured 
only the soul of the First Man which was left below when his body, as will 
presently be seen, returned to the tipper world. See Hegemonius, Ada, 
c. vn., p, 10, Beeson. 

2 Both the Christian and the Mahommedan traditions agree as to this 
result of the fight, which is paralleled not only by the more or less success- 
ful attempt of Jaldabaoth and his powers to eat the light of Pistis Sophia, 
but also by a similar case in orthodox Zoroastrianism. For all these see 
Cumont, Coemog- Manick. p. 18, n. 4. Bar Khoni (Pognon, p. 186), goes 
further and describes the surrender of the First Man as a tactical effort 
on his part, * e as a man who having an enemy puts poison in a cake and 
gives it to him." Alexander of Lycopolis (adv. Munich, c. m.), on the other 
hand declares that God could not avenge himself upon matter (as he cafls 
Barkaess) as he wished, because he had no evil at hand to help him, "since 
evil does not exist in the house and abode of God"; that he therefore 
8uife fee soul into matter which wifl eventually permeate it and be the death 
ol ^; bat ihafe in the meantime the soul is changed for the worse and 
participates In the evil ol matter, "as In a dirty vessel the contents suffer 

ar, a*e more Hfcetjr to be tfce ideas of tibe Christian 

xm] Manes and the Manichaeans 295 

Elements so that they can no more increase 1 . Then the Bang 
of the Paradise of Light orders an angel to draw the Confusion 
or Mixture of the Elements to that part of the Realm of Dark- 
ness which touches the Realm of Light, and to create out of 
it the present world, so as to deliver the imprisoned elements 
of Light from the Darkness with which they are contaminated. 
This is done, and a Universe having six heavens and eight 
earths is formed, each heaven having twelve gates, together with 
terraces, corridors, and places in such profusion as to point to 
some confusion in the translation into the Syriac which has come 
down to us. The only thing that concerns us in this, perhaps, is 
that the visible world, presumably the lowest of the eight, has 
a ditch dug round it in which is thrown the Matter of Darkness 
as it is separated from the Light, and outside this a wall so that 
it cannot escape. This is in view of the End of the World 2 , 

1 En Nadim in Kessler, op. cit. pp. 389, 390; Fliigel, op. cit. p. 87. As 
Kessler points out, En Nadim gives two accounts doubtless taken from 
different Manichaean sources. In one, he says simply that the TCfng of 
the Paradise of Light followed with other gods and delivered the First 
Man, the actual victor over Darkness being called "the Friend" of the , 
Lights (like Mithras). He then goes on to say that Joy (i.e. the Mother 
of Life) and the Spirit of Life went to the frontier, looked into the abyss 
of hell and saw the Pirst Man and his powers were held enlaced by Satan, 
"the Presumptuous Oppressor and the Life of Darkness" ; then she called 
him in a loud and clear voice, and he became a god, after which he returned 
and ** cut the roots of the Dark Powers, " For Bar KMnfs amplification 
of this story see p. 302, n. l,andp. 324 infra. The whole of ite, togetfoex 
with the cutting of the roots, is strongly reminiscent of tfee Pta&a Sop&*&. 

2 En Nadim in Kessler, op. c&. pp, 391, 39S; Huge!, op. e&* p. 98. 
The A(Aa (Hegemonius, op. c&. c. vm., p. 11, Beeson) say tfaafc til "Living 
Spirit" before mentioned "created the Cosmos^ descended doiJied wM 
three otter powers, drew forth the rates (oJ &px*xvrts} and craeiied tlieta 
in the firmament which is their body tiie Sphare." "Then fee erea&ed tfee 
lights (<txMrrvjp*s) which are the reomaats of the soul, caused the irmaraeat 
to encompass them, and again created the earth [not the Cosmos] with 
its eight aspects," Tlie Latin version after "earth" adds "t&0y (tc /} are 
eight*" whieh if it refers to tsheaspeets wotild agree with Eb NacEbm. Alex- 
ander of Lyoopolis (e$v f M&mck. o. EEL), wfeo had been follower of Manes 
and was a Christian bishop some 25 yeans after Manes* dea&h, says that 
**God sent forth another power which we caH tiie Demiurge or creator 
of all things; that this Demiurge in oreatmg tlxe Cosmos separated from 
matter as much power as was ttcpfeained, aaad from it made tte Baa aal 

296 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

So far there is no great difference at all events, no irre- 
concilable difference between the Christian and the Mahom- 
medan accounts of Manes' doctrines. The machinery set up 
for the process of the redemption of the light, however, differs 
somewhat conspicuously in the two traditions. The Mahom- 
medan writers declare that in Manes' teaching the Sun and 
Moon were created for the purification of the Light, the Sun 
drawing to itself those light-elements which had become 
contaminated by the demons of heat and flame and the Moon 
exercising a like attraction on those which had suffered from 
the embrace of Satan's other powers. Both luminaries bear 
these elements into the Column of Praises or Glory which is 
perpetually mounting from the Sun to the World of Light, 
bearing with it the praises of men, their hymns of gratitude, 
and their pure words and good works 1 . This will continue until 

Moon; and that the slightly stained matter became the stars and the 
expanse of heaven." * 4 The matter from which the Sun and Moon were 
taken," he goes on to say, "was cast out of the Cosmos and resembles 
night" [Qy the Outer Darkness ?], while the rest of the " elements " consists 
of light and matter unequally mingled. Bar Khdni (Pognon, op. tit. 
p. 188), as will presently be seen, says that the Living Spirit with the Mother 
of Life and two other powers called the Appellant and Respondent [evi- 
dently the "three other powers" of the Acta\ descended to earth, caused 
the Kulers or Princes to be killed and flayed, and that out of their skins 
the Mother of Life made 11 heavens, while their bodies were cast on to 
the earth of darkness and made 8 earths. The Living Spirit then made 
the Sun, the Moon, and "thousands of Lights" (i.e. Stars) out of the light 
he took from the Rulers, That this last story is an elaboration of the 
earlier ones seems likely, and the flaying of the Rulers seems to be reminis- 
cent of the Babylonian legend of Bel and Tiamat, an echo of which is also 
to be found in the later Avestic literature. See West, Pahlavi Texts 
(S.B.E.), pt iii. p. 243. Of. Cumont, Oosmog. Munich, p. 27, n. 2. . 

1 En Kadim in Kessler, op. ciL p. 392; Fliigel, op. tit. pp. 89-90. 
This would agree perfectly with the system of the Pistis Sophia, where it 
is said that the "receivers of the Sun and Moon" give the particles of the 
light as it is won from matter to Melohizedek, the purifier, who purifies 
it before iaJdng it into the Treasure-house (pp. 36, 37, Copt.). The idea 
thafe tibe Sum's rays had a purifying effect shows shrewd observation of 
natooee before his bacfeericidal power was discovered by science. So does 
the association ol tlie Moon with water, which doubtless came from the 
tfee tides. Is the CMomn of Glory the Milky Way? 

xm] Manes and the Manichaeans 297 

none but a feeble fragment of the Light remains in this world, 
when the angels charged with its maintenance will abandon their 
task, and return to the World of Light. A fire will then break 
out, which will burn for 1468 years and will set free the remainder 
of the Light imprisoned in matter by consuming its envelope. 
Satan or Hummama, the Spirit of Darkness, will then acknow- 
ledge his defeat, and will be driven into the tomb prepared for 
him, the entrance to which will be closed with a stone the size 
of the world 1 . In the Christian tradition these matters are 
more complicated, and Manes is said to have taught that there 
exists a great wheel bearing twelve vases or buckets after the 
fashion of an Egyptian sakiyeh, which raise the redeemed 
portions of Light to the Sun, who gives them to the Moon, 
who in her turn delivers them to the Aeons of the Light, who 
place them in the Column of Glory here called the Perfect Air 2 . 
The Christian account is also more detailed with regard to the 
functions of the angels charged with the conduct of the world, 
making out that one of them supports this earth on his shoulders 
and is therefore called Omophorus, great earthquakes and 
commotions taking place when from weariness he shifts his 
burthen from one shoulder to the other, while another, called 

1 The Ecpyrosis or final conflagration is always present in orthodox 
Mazdeism, where it inspires its Apocalypses, and is in effect the necessary 
conclusion to the drama which begins with the assault on the world of 
light by Ahriman. For references, see Soderblom, op* dt. chap, IT. 
3?rom the Persians it probably passed to the Stoics and thus reached tine 
Western world slightly in advance of Christianity. "The day when the 
Great Dragon shall be judged " is continually on the Hpe of the authors 
of the Pis&s SopMa, and the Me'pos r^x^ v 2*%w, ^oo! the conception 
may there! ore have reached Manes from two sources at once. The angels 
maintaining the world as mentioned in the text ace of coarse 
tenens and Omophorus about to be described. 

Bk xx. a 10) mentions the Wheel bdefiy aad ratter obscurely. It seems 
to have fallen out of ite account of Bar Khdni Bat see th# Tun-huang 
treatise (Omvaaanes et Feiloty op. c& . 1* partie, pp. 515, n. 2, 516, 517, n. 3). 
Tfcereca^ be Mttle doubt ito Thomsons 

of the Light seem to be the five worlds who here play the part of the 
Parastatae in the Pistes 

298 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

Splenditenens, holds the heavens by their backs 1 . The stars 
are also in the Christian tradition fashioned out of the purer 
part of the Light which was not captured by the Satanic powers, 
whereas the Mahommedan tradition says nothing about their 
origin 2 , The Christian writers also make the Manichaeans tell 
a story about the appearance of a beautiful virgin who appears 
to the male and female devils who were crucified or fixed in 
this world on the deliverance of the First Man. She appears 
to the male fiends as a beautiful woman and to the female as 
a desirable young man ; and when they covet and pursue her, 
she flies from them and disappears. The anger of the Great 
Archon or Satan on this causes the appearance of clouds in 

1 Hegemonius, Ada, c. vm. pp. 11, 12, Beeson, mentions Omophorus, 
but not Splenditenens. Splenditenens is, however, well known to St 
Augustine, who describes bjrn (con&ra Faustum, Bk xv. c. 7) as Splendttenen- 
tem magnum, sex w&us et ora ferentem, miwntemgue famine* "Great 
Splenditenens, bearing six faces and mouths, and glittering with light." 
So later (op. c&. Bk xx. c. 0) he says, Splenditenentem, reliquiae eorumdem 
membrorwn Dei Beatfri in ynanu kabent&n, et cetera omnia capta f oppressa* 
inqmnata pbrngentem, et Atlcmtem maximum subter humeris suis cum eo 
f&r&wtem*, ne totum itte fatigatlis abjitiat. "Splenditenens, who has in Ms 
hand the remains of these members of your God [i.e. the five elements or 
"sons" of the First Man] and who mourns the capture and oppression and 
defilement of all the rest; and huge Atlas, who bears everything with him on 
his shotilders, lest he should be wearied and cast it away." Bar Khoni 
(Pognon, pp. 188, 189) describes them both, and calls Splenditenens "the 
Ornament of Splendour," while he makes the pair two of the five sons of 
the Living Spirit, as more clearly appears in the Tunhuang treatise (Cha- 
vannes et Pelliot, op. tit. p. 549, and notes 2 and 5). Where Manes found 
the figure of Splenditenens is not apparent, but the world- bearing angel is 
an old conception in Western Asia, as M. Cumont has shown in his before- 
quoted Co$mogome Manichdenne, App. n. He appears prominently on the 
Mithraie monuments and was no doubt the original of the Greek Atlas, 

s Alexander of Lycopolis, op. tit. c* m., says plainly that the Sun and 
Moon were formed out of that part of the light (here called & 
" power"), which, although it had been captured by the powers of matter, 
had not been contaminated, while that which had suffered some slight 
and, HKxteate stain became the stars and sky, The Ada (Hegemoinins, 
op. e&. e. vm. p* 11, Beeson), as we have seen, says that the laving Spirit 
a?e8rf)i Hue lights {$*rr%x?, lumina*m), which are the remnants of the sou! 
(we. the armour of the Eirst Man) and caused the firmament to surround 
them. Tim aulhor foere evi<^^ 

xni] Manes and the Manichaeans 299 

this world and thereby obscures the Sun's light, whilst his 
sweat becomes rain 1 . 

On the origin of terrestrial man, there is also considerable 
discrepancy between the two streams of tradition. The 
Mahommedan tells us that Adam was born from the conjunction 
of one of "these Arehons" or Princes, and a star. Nothing is 
said to tell us what is meant by "these" princes, but as the 
phrase is used in other passages by the same writer to denote the 
Satanic hierarchy one can but suppose that it is one of the rulers 
of darkness who is here indicated 2 . The same writer goes on 
to say that the conjunction was " beheld " [or aided?] by a pair 
of Archons, one male and the other female, and that a second 
similar conjunction resulted in the birth of Eve. There is 
evidently a reference here to some legend of which we have 
lost the trace 8 , and the Christian tradition assigns to Adam an 
entirely different origin and declares that he was made by all 
the "princes' 5 or archons on the advice of one of their number, 
who persuaded the others to give up some of the light they had 
received which they knew would otherwise be taken from them 
and to make from it man in their own image and after the form 
of the "First Man" against whom they had fought with tem- 
porary success 4 . This story is clearly the same as that which 
we have already seen current among the Ophites, and it now 
seems most probable that it here appears not as was once 

1 The whole of this story, which is the reverse of edifying, is studied 
by M, Cumont, with the fullest references to the authorities, in his Co$- 
mogome Mamch&nne before quoted, to which it f arms Appendix I* m*deir 
the heading "La Seduction des Archontes." To this I must refer the reader, 
only remarking that, while I fully agree that the goddess in question is 
probably derived from the Mother of fee Gods who under the name (infer 
o&a) of Ataigatis was worshipped t&roughoctt Area Minor, I do not see 
that she had any connection with the "Virgin ol light" of the Pi&is 
S&p&ia. This Virgin of I^ht did, indeed, pass into Maniehaeism, but 
she had there a wry diff euent naajie and afeibutes from the Hotter of the 
Gods, See p. 323, n. 4 mfra. 

2 En Nadim in Kessfa, o^. c&. p. 3&3; Mugel, op. c& pp. 90, 9L 

3 Kessler, op. et pag. c&> n. 1, says it has dropped out of the text* which 
seenis likely. 

4 Hegemonius, Ada, c. xn. J^K 1&, 20, Beeson. The story is given 
verbatim later, p, 306 infra. 

300 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

thought as an interpolation foisted into the teaching of 
Manes by the Christian writer, but because both Ophite and 
Manichaean derived the story independently of each other from 
legends current in Western Asia 1 . 

The Mahommedan writer then plunges into a long and 
elaborate account of how the "Five Angels/ 3 meaning thereby 
apparently the "members 95 Gentleness, Knowledge, Intelli- 
gence, Discretion and Discernment, on beholding Adam and 
Eve, prayed to certain powers which seem to be those which 
descended with the Bang of the Paradise of Light after the 
defeat of the First Man properly so called. These Powers 
include the First Man himself and the Mother of Life 2 , and the 

1 The Mandaeans or Disciples of St John described on p. 305 seem a 
likely source, as they have many traditions about the protoplasts, some of 
which clearly go back to before the Christian Era. None of those mentioned 
by Brandt, Die Manddische Religion, Leipzig, 1889, pp. 34-39, however, 
seem to be exactly similar to the story in the text. . 

* This Mother of Life is one of the most prominent, though not one of 
the most active figures in the Manichaean pantheon. Her identification 
with the Spirit of the Bight Hand or first Power created by the Supreme 
God of Light has been mentioned above (note 1, p. 293 supra). She doubtless 
has her immediate origin in the great mother goddess worshipped through- 
out Western Asia, whose most familiar name is Cybele, but whom we have 
seen (Chap. II supra) identified with Isis, Demeter, and all the goddesses 
of the Hellenistic pantheon. See as to this, Bousset, Hauptprobleme, pp. 
58 sqq.y although he, too, falls into the error of identifying with her the 
Virgin of Light of the Ptetis Sophia. That the name "Mother of Life" 
at least passed to all these goddesses is certain; bnt it also found its way 
into Egyptian Christianity; for in the Coptic spell or amulet known as 
the Prayer of the Virgin in Bartos (i.e. Parthia), studied by Mr W. E. Crum 
(P.S.JB.A. vol six. 1897, p. 216), the Virgin Mary is represented as saying 
"I am Mariham (Maptd^), I am Maria, I am the Mother of the Life of the 
whole World!**, and the popularity of the "Prayer" is shown by its 
frequent appearance in Ethiopic and Arabic versions (op. tit. p. 211). 
So, too, in the evidently Christian Trattato Gnostico of F. Rossi (Memorie 
deUa Reale Accademia di Torino, ser. n. t. xliii. p. 16) the magician says 
**I entreat thee, God, by the great revered Virgin (-rrapBtvos) in whom the 
Father was concealed from the beginning before He had created anything." 
Bar EMni, again (Pognon, pp. 200-211), speafca of the Kukeans, who 
seem to feave been a semi-Christian sect, and who taught that tlie coining 
of Jesus fe* eaaft fead lor Its object i&e redemp^on of His bride, the Mother 
of life, wno was detained heire befow, Ifce 1&& Helena of Simon Magus. 

xin] Manes and the Manichaeans 301 

The Mother of Life is mentioned in all the Mahommedan and Christian 
writers who have treated of Manichaeism (for the references, see Chavannes 
et Pelliot, op. cit. l* re partie, p. 511, n. 1), in the Pahlavi MS. discovered by 
the Germans at Turf an (F. W. K. Muller, Handschriften-Reste in Estmngido- 
Schrift, pp. 47, 55), and in the Chinese treatise from Tun-huang 
(Chavannes et Pelliot, op. cit. p. 511 et a/.)- ^ this last, she is called 
Chan-mou, which is translated "the Excellent Mother," and En Nadim 
in one passage (Kessler, op. cit. p. 399; Fliigel, op. cit. p. 100) calls 
her Nahnaha, which Fltigel would translate "The Aversion of the Evil 
Ones," It should be noticed, however, that her part in the cosmogony 
is small, and that she acts npon the world, like all these supercelestial 
powers, only through her descendants or "sons." These are treated 
of later (see p. 323 and n. 1, p. 302 infra). Titos of Boetra as quoted 
by Fliigel, op. cit. p. 210, speaks of her as bvvafus rov dyatiov ovxen 
4>a>s al<rdr)Tov aXV <5>s av <f>aii] 7rpo^o\7j TOV tieov. "[The] Power of the 
Good One, no longer a perceptible light, but as if one should say. an emana- 
tion of God." Some years ago, we could hardly have looked for her 
prototype or first appearance in the history of religions in any other 
direction than Babylonia, where the worship of Ishtar, her Babylonian 
counterpart, goes back as far as we can trace Babylonian religion. Now, 
however, it is plain that other races than the Babylonians may have been 
concerned in the spread of the worship of the Great Mother throughout 
Western Asia, In the Zoroastrian faith, she seems to appear as Spenta 
Armaiti, the one certainly female power among the seven Amshaspands, 
who in the Pahlavi texts is set over the earth, as Vohu Mano is made 
protector of the beasts, Asha Vahishta of the fire, and Khshathra Vairya 
is set over metals. But besides this, she is identified in the Gathas with 
the Wisdom of God (for references see pp. 136-137 of M. Carney's article 
in the Museon mentioned below), an identification which Plutarch ($e /&. 
et Os. c. sxvn. ) admits by translating her name as 0-o^to, and like tfee Sophia 
of the Gnostics is given as a spouse to her creator Ahura Mazda, to whom 
she bears the Pirst Man Gaydmort (Darmesteter, Le Zmd~Awsfa t, L 
pp. 128-129). Yet we now know that this figure may have coma into tlse 
Zoroastrian pantheon neither from Semitic sources nor, as Dannesteter 
thought, from Plato. M. A. Carnoy in a sfody oalfed Armtiti- Armata$t 
(Mus&n, ru*. voL xnr. (1912), pfk 127-146) slk0wB tfee iden&p of tte 
Persian Amshaspand with ti*e Vedio goddess AramaH We have already 
seen that he Vedic gods Vanma and BOtara were, worsikipped by Hitiates 
in Asia Minor before the xnth century B.<x, and Prol Gcastang believes 
that the Earth-Mother was tfee gjreat goddess of the Hitiites, and was the 
one worshipped in Roman times at EBerapohs or Mabug as the Da Syria 
or Atargatis, a name that he equates with Deareofeo, the mother of Semi- 
ramis in classic legend, and declares to be compounded of Ishtar or Aatarter 
and the Aramaic " Athar or Atiie." See Strong and Gaxstang, The j%ro 
Goddess, pp. 1-8, and notes 24, 25, and 30, on pp. 52, 53 and 30 op*. 

302 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

Living Spirit 1 , and were besought by the Five to send to earth 
a Saviour who should give Adam and Eve Knowledge and 

cit. Zoroaster and Manes may therefore have taken their mother goddess 
from aa Aryan rather than from a Semitic original. 

1 This Laying Spirit is the most active agent of the Light in the Mani- 
chaean system, and seems to have held his place unaltered through all the 
changes of Manichaean teaching. Alexander of Lycopolis (contra Manick. 
c. m.) speaks of b.m\ as the ^fuovpyos or Architect of the Universe. The 
earliest part of the Acta (Hegemonius, c. vn. p. 10, Beeson) says that he was 
put forth from the Father (or Supreme God of Light) in consequence of 
the prayers of the First Man after his defeat, that he delivered this last, 
crucified or bound the Archons in the firmament (as Jeu is said to have 
done in the Pistis Sophia), made the Sun and Moon and appointed their 
courses, and further made the eight earths. St Augustine, contra Faustum, 
Bk xx. o, 1, makes the Manichaean Faustus call him the "Third Majesty 
whom we acknowledge to have his seat and his lodging-place in the whole 
circle of the atmosphere, From whose powers and spiritual inpouring 
also, the earth conceived and brought forth the suffering Jesus who is the 
life and salvation of men and is hanging on every tree." St Augustine 
farther speaks (op. tit. Bk xx. c. 9} of "your mighty (potentem for wvenfem) 
Spirit, who constructs the world from the captive bodies of the race of 
darkness or rather from the members of your God held in subjection and 
bondage**' St Augustine (see contra WavMtim, Bk xv, c. 6) also knows 
that the living Spirit has, like the First Man, five sons, to whom we shall 
return later. The Mahommedan writers have much less to say on the 
subject. En Nadim (Kessler, oj>. cit. p. 390; Fliigel, op. cit. p. 88) says 
abruptly that "Joy [i.e. tihe Mother of Life] and the Spirit of Life went to 
the frontier, looked into the abyss of hell and saw there the First Man and 
his angels," whereupon the Spirit of Life called the First Man with a voice 
of thunder and the latter "became a god." This story is so without 
connection with the context that Kessler is probably right in attributing 
it to another source from that from which the I'ihri^ has drawn up to 
this point. The source in question was probably a late one; for Bar 
Khdni (op. tit. pp. 186-188} supplies many more detail which will be given 
in the text. Bar Khoni also amplifies the story in the Fihrist into a 
description of how the Living Spirit, on seeing the First Man in the Dark- 
ness* spoke "a word which took the appearance of a pointed sword" (cf. 
Revelation i 16), and how this word caused to appear the image of the 
Mrs* Man. A dialogue then, ensues between apparently the sword and 
ifese Image* wMeh appear to be here identified with the Appellant and 
Bespo^dent of later Maaiehaeasm, and the pair are drawn up out of be!. 
See ^BC^ 0sme&. Mamch. p. 24, and note & Al Btranf, G7mmolQ$y, 
p. 39^ ate fcpow ^ Ite Spirit ol Life aaa<l says tixa* Sfanes "preoe&ed* 
of Mm. In Ito !EiHjaaa tearfe itee is occasional iBmtkaa of tlie 

Manes and the Manichaeans 303 

G-oodness and deliver them from the devils. Their prayer was 
heard, and Jesus was sent upon earth "accompanied by a god," 
with whose aid the Archons were again overthrown and im- 
prisoned, while Adam and Eve were set free 1 . Jesus then 
addressed Adam and revealed to him the whole secret of the 
cosmogony, enlightening him upon the origin and functions of 
the different heavenly worlds or paradises, of the gods, of hell, 
of the devils, of the earth and sky, and of the sun and moon. 
He then showed him, continues the Mahommedan tradition, 
the seductive power of Eve, put him on his guard against it, 
and breathed into him the fear of yielding to it. Adam, it is 
said, listened to these commands obediently. 

The result of this abstinence on Adam's part we are still 
pursuing the Mahommedan account of the Manichaean teaching 
was seen in the sequel. The Archon or Demon who was 
practically the father of the present race of mankind became 
enamoured of Eve, and engendering with her begot a son "ugly 
and of a reddish colour," who was named Cain. Cain in turn 
had relations with his mother Eve, and from this incest was 
born a son of white colour who was named Abel. From the 
further intercourse of Cain and Eve were born two daughters, 
one called "the Wisdom of the World," and the other "the 
Daughter of Pleasure." Cain took the last-named to wife and 
gave the other in marriage to Abel ; but he did not know that 

together with the Father and the Son (Miiller, Handsehriftm-Be&e, pfx 26, 
28), and also of the "commands" of the Holy Spirit to the Hearers, which 
are plainly allusions to the Living Spirit or Zmv Jlvfvfui of the Christian 
Fathers. In the Tun-hnang treatise (Ohavannes et Peffiot, o^ ctt. pp. 510, 
656) he is repeatedly mentioned, and althoagjh nothing fe said of Ms 
demiurgic or world-areating powers, the part which he and the Hdtor of 
Life play in the rescue of the First Man after his defeat is recognised, and 
he is spoken of as forming the third person of a Trinity of which t3& two 
other members are t&e Father or higjies* God of Lafefct aad the "Son of 
the light.** Fma% (op. dL p* 557), he is said to be "a whit do^e, T * 
whereby Ms likeness to tfe Holy Sprit of tfo Oteisfeiii Trinity already 
noted by Fasstes is emphasized (see Angtisfee, 5 a*. pm and Bk xx. 
c. 6). 

1 This conception of Jesos as a warrior has already been seen in tlbe 
Pistis Sophia* see p. 166 &u$ra. So we read of "Jesus the victoriof^** in 
the Tun-httang treatise, p. 566, n. 3. 

304 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

the Wisdom of the World was filled with Light and divine 
wisdom, while the Daughter of Pleasure possessed nothing of 
the kind. In the sequel, one of the Angels had relations with 
the Wisdom of the World and begot two daughters, called 
Help (Farjad) and Bringer of Help (Barfarjad). Abel accused 
Cain of being the father of these girls, whereupon Cain killed 
him and took the "Wisdom of the World" as his own second 
wife. The Rulers of Darkness were annoyed at this, and the 
" Great Devil," here called Sindid, taught Eve magical formulas 
by the aid of which she again enticed Adam to intercourse. 
The result was a son "beautiful and of an agreeable counten- 
ance," whom Eve wished to kill as having nothing of the 
Archons in him. Adam arranged to have the child fed exclu- 
sively on milk and fruits, and drew three magic circles round 
him bearing the names of the King of the Paradise of Light, 
the First Man, and the Spirit of Life respectively, to protect 
him against the devils. He then went to a high place and 
entreated God for him, whereupon one of the Three Powers 
last named appeared and gave him a Crown of Glory, at the 
sight of which Sindid and the Archons fled away. Then a tree 
appeared to Adam called the Lotus, from which he drew milk 
with which to nourish his son whom he called first after the 
tree, and then Seth (Schathil). Eve, on the instigation of Sindid, 
again persuaded Adam to intercourse, which so disgusted Seth 
that he took with him the Wisdom of the World, her two 
daughters Help and Bringer of Help, and " Siddikut," which 
seems to be the community of the elect or Perfect Manichaeans, 
and journeyed to the East in search of the Divine Light and 
Wisdom. At their death all these entered into Paradise, while 
Eve, Cain, and the daughters of Desire went to hell 1 . 

1 En Nadim in Kessler, op. c&. pp. 393 sqq. ; Flugel, op. tit. pp. 90 sqq. 
Theodore bar Khoni (Pognon, op. tit. pp. 189 eqq.) 9 gives a much more 
elaborate account of the creation of man and the other fl.nima.1a., for which 
and f QC its explanation the reader must be referred to the elaborate analysis 
of M. Comont {Oasmogr. Munich, pp. 34r-49, and App. n., "La Seduction 
des Archontes"). It should be noted, however, that some part of this 
stoiy was known to St Angostana See especially contra FaMStetm* Bk vi. 

xm] Manes and the Manichaeans 305 

The story about the protoplasts of the Book of Genesis has 
teen given in more detail than it perhaps deserves because of 
its manifest connection with the doctrines of the extant sect of 
Mandaites, Hemerobaptists, or Disciples of St John still to be 
found in certain villages near the Shat-el-Arab and even in 
considerable towns like Bussora. These sectaries declare them- 
selves to have inherited the faith of John the Baptist, and have 
a sacred book called the Sidra Rabba, which has been known to 
Europeans since the xviith century, and contains, among other 
things, many stories like those given above. The Mandaites are 
a violently anti- Christian sect, and say that the historical Jesus 
was a fiend who obtained baptism from St John the Baptist 
by means of a trick, and they display a similar hatred of the 
religions of both the Jews and the Mahommedans. Neverthe- 
less, most modern writers consider them related to, and perhaps 
the modern representatives of, the Mughtasilah or " Washers 1 ." 
This last sect is certainly very ancient, and its history can 
in fact be traced as far back as the beginning of the reign of 
Trajan 2 , while the Mahommedan author, from whom the 
traditional account of Manes' doctrines has been quoted above, 
says that Manes was in his youth one of the Mughtasilah. From 
this Prof. Kessler, who perhaps devoted more attention to the 
Manichaean religion than any living scholar, built up the 
theory that the doctrines of the Mughtasilah were one of the 
principal sources from which Manes formed his system. He 
even says that the Fatak or Patecius whom tradition gives as 
a father to Manes must be identified with that Seythianns or 
Terebinthus whom the Christian tradition makes Fatak's 
predecessor, was one of the Mughtasilah, and helped Manes 
both in the construction of his system and in its propagation*. 
This may be so, but very little evidence is available in support 
of the theory; and the points which the Mandaites and the 
Manichaeans undoubtedly possess IB common do not seem to 

1 So Rochat, op. c$L pp. 157, 158. 

2 Kessler, op. c& pp. 72, 80; Brandt, M amOaisc&e J&j%*o% p. 178. 

3 Rochat, op. c&. pp. 156-178, lias oarefoBy examined the resemblances 
between the system of Manes and that of the Mandaites and declares that 
it is at present impossible to say which of them has borrowed from the 

306 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

be more than can be explained by the contact which must neces- 
sarily have taken place between two neighbouring sects both 
persecuted successively by Persian Shahs, Christian Emperors, 
and Mahommedan Caliphs. The Christian tradition of Manes' 
teaching concerning the protoplasts says merely that " he who 
said * Let us make man in our own image" 5 was the same Prince 
of Darkness who thereby counselled the other Archons to give 
up their light in order to make man in the likeness 

"of the form that we have seen, that is to say, of the First Man. 
And in that manner," it continues, "he created the man. They 
created Eve also after the like fashion, imparting to her of their 
own lust, with a view to the deceiving of Adam. And by these 
means the construction of the world proceeded from the operations 
of the Prince 1 ." 

The teaching of Manes with regard to Jesus is not very 
clear in the Christian tradition, no doubt because the writers 
who recorded it were careful to remove from it as much as 
possible everything which in their view savoured of blasphemy. 
Yet the Christian author before quoted makes Manes say that 
the God of Light whom he calls "the Good Father" sent his 
well-beloved son upon earth for the salvation of man's soul 
and "because of Omophorus" or the world-sustaining angel. 
This son, by whom he can hardly mean any other than the histo- 
rical Jesus, " came and transformed himself into the semblance of 
a man and showed himself to men as a man, although he was 
not a man, and men imagined that he had been begotten 2 . 95 
It is also to Him that is attributed the construction of the 
wonderful wheel before alluded to as equipped with twelve vases 
which the sphere causes to revolve, and which thus scoops up, 
as it were, the souls of the dying 3 . The Christian account also 
narrates that in 

"the Paradise which is called the Cosmos [Qy the "heavenly" 
earth or the Sun ?], there are trees such as Desire and other deceits, 

1 Hegemonies* A&&, c. xn., pp. 19, 20, Beeson. 

2 %. at. c. TOI., p. 12, Beesoru 

3 Cfewaaanes et PeOiot (op. tit. p. 517, n, 3} make this tiae work of the 
liTOg Spirit^ Imt they ase clearly wioug. The text of the Ada referred 
to m tfee last B0fe> leaves BO dontt that it is that of the "Son." 

xm] Manes and the Manichaeans 307 

whereby the minds of those men [those who reach it?] are corrupted. 
But the tree in Paradise, whereby they know the good, is Jesus and 
the knowledge of Him which is in the Cosmos. And whoso receives 
it, distinguishes "between good and evil. Yet the Cosmos itself is 
not of G-od, but it was made from portions of matter, and therefore 
all things in it will disappear 1 ." 

There is not really any very great difference between this and 
the Mahommedan tradition quoted above which makes Jesus 
the messenger sent from above to give knowledge to Adam, 
especially if we consider that Manes probably, like most of the 
Gnostics, placed Paradise not upon the earth but in one of the 
heavens intermediate between us and the abode of the Supreme 
Being 2 . That Manes supposed Jesus to have descended to this 
earth also is plain from his own words quoted by Al Biruni 
from the Shapurakan or book written by Manes for King Sapor : 

"Wisdom and deeds have always from time to time been brought to 
mankind by the messenger of God. So in one age they have been 
brought by the messenger called Buddha to India, in another by 
Zaradusht [i.e. Zoroaster] to Persia, in another by Jesus to the 
West, Thereupon this revelation has come down, this prophecy in 
this last age through me, Mani, the messenger of the God of Truth to 
Babylonia 3 ." 

Manes 5 ideas as to the salvation of man's soul again differ 
little in the two streams of tradition. The Christian, here 
perhaps the fuller of the two, describes him as teaching that the 
soul of man, as also that of beasts, birds, other animals, and 
plants, is part of the light which was won by the demons from 
the First Man, while all bodies are of that matter whioh is tie 
same as darkness. Man's body, we are told, is called a cosines 
by parallelism with the great Cosmos, and all men faare roots 


Hegemonies, Acta, c. ax, p* 18, Beeson. 

2 This is the tradition evidently known to the author of t&e Mt 
TWX&V Sor^s when he mate JCSBS say "When I spoke witfc Enoch 
of the Tree of Knowledge in the Paradise of Adam." (See Chap. 
p. 173 supra.) 

* Al Biruni, Clwcmology, p. 190. 

SOS Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

here below bound to things which are above 1 . It is the cutting 
of these roots by the demons which causes death. On the death 
of a man who has attained the knowledge of the truth during 
this life, his soul is taken up in the wheel to the Sun, by whom 
after it has been purified it is passed over to the Moon, the two 
luminaries being represented as ships or ferry-boats sailing to- 
and-fro in the upper air. When the Moon is full, she ferries 
the souls with which she is filled towards the East, and then 
delivers them to the Aeons of Light who place them in the 
Pillar of Glory before described. She then returns for a fresh 
supply greatly reduced in circumference, whereby her waxing 
and waning is explained 2 . In the case of a man who has not 
attained the knowledge of the truth, a small portion of the 
soul only is purified and is then reincarnated in the body of 
a dog, a camel, or some other animal, according to the sins 
which it has committed. Thus, if he has killed a mouse, he will 
become a mouse, if a chicken a chicken, and so on, while those 
who have been employed in the reaping of corn will themselves 
become corn or some other kind of plant in order that they may 
be reaped and cut in turn. The soul of the homicide will, it 
is said, go to inhabit the body of a leper 3 . There will, apparently, 
be five of these reincarnations 4 , and between them the soul which 
has not found knowledge of the truth is given over to the demons 
in order that they may subdue it in the "Gehennas" of fire. 
This, like its transference into other bodies, is for the sake of 
teaching it better; but if it still remains without knowledge, 

1 Hegemonius, Ada, c. rs:., p. 14, Beeson* This idea of the macrocosm 
and microcosm according to which the body of man is a replica of the 
universe is found in nearly all later mysticism also in the dabala and in 
the later Zoroastrian treatises. In the Tnn-huang treatise it forms the 
chief theme of the homiletic part of the "work. 

2 Op. tit. c. vm., pp. 12, 13, Beeson. The Latin version has vir "man" 
for aer "air" in its description of the Column of Glory. Probably a 
clerical error. 

3 Op. c&. c. x. pp. 15, 16 Beeson. The word Tised is K&$O$; but 
the Latin texts alt read "elephant." 

4 *Ep,,..*r& fKroyylferot 9 "^X 1 ? & v&rc <r&/tara, op, et cap* C$L p. 15, 

xni] Manes and the Manichaeans 309 

it is cast into the great fire until the Consummation of the 
World 1 . 

The Mahommedan tradition as to what occurs at death goes 
into more details, and it is here that we catch the first glimpse of 
that doctrine of predestination which plays so prominent a part 
in the later teaching of the Manichaean Church. When a just 
or perfect or "true" Manichaean is on the point of death, the 
First Man sends to him a "shining god of light" in the form of 
"the Wise Guide " accompanied by three other gods and with 
them " the bowl of water, the garment, the fillet for the head, 
the circlet and the crown of light 2 ." With them comes the 
virgin who is like to the soul of the just one. There also appear 
to him the devil of greed, that of pleasure, and others with 
them. Directly the just one who is dying sees them, he calls 
to his help the goddess 3 who has taken the form of the Wise 
Guide and the three gods her companions. They draw near to 
him, and at the sight of them the devils turn and flee. Then 
the gods take the just one, do on him the crowns and the 
garment, put in his hand the bowl of water, and mount with 
him to the Column of Praises in the sphere of the Moon, to the 
First Man and to Nahnaha the Mother of Life, until they reach 
the place in the Paradise of Light he occupied in the beginning*. 

1 The soul of the rich man is in the same chapter said to pass into Hie 
body of a beggar and thereafter eis- /coXao-tv al&viov "to everlasting proiah- 
ment." Is it from this source that the Calvinists took their doctrine of 
eternal damnation? The reprobation of the rich as such and witfeomfe 
regard to the use they might make of their wealth perhaps aeeosmie for 
the levelling and republican politics of the mediaeval sectaries. 

2 The Bowl of water reminds one of the cup of soberness and refetioa 
administered to just souls by the little Sabaoth tfee Good m ^e M^po* T*t*xr 
2<ttTi}por. See Chap. X, p. 187 sogpra. Tlse garment was pirobaMy tte 
"heavenly nature" with whiefe the sou! had to be dotted before it eonH 
ascend to the tipper spheres <&j^t (cL ^ Pi^ Bop&a). Hial^ecroim 
was designed as a protection againsfc tfee spirits of erf, tbere are many 
indications in fee lasfe-meniioiied doooment. 

* Kessler would Mere read "gods" for "goddess." 

4 That is to say, the paartioolar world of light, whether Gentleness, 
Knowledge, Intelligence, Discretion, or Discernment, from which the soul 
descended* As toe "armour" of the First Man, from which t&e souls ol 
men are formed, was made with the aid of these five worlds, it is reasonable 

310 Manes and the Manichaeam [OH. 

His body remains stretched (upon the earth) in order that the 
Sun, the Moon, and the Gods of Light may take from it its 
powers, i.e. the Water, the Fire, the gentle Breeze, which are 
then borne upwards to the Snn and become a god. The rest 
of the body, which is all darkness, is cast into hell 1 . 

This description of the lot of the blessed after death is 
certainly taken from no other source than that from which the 
Zoroastrian books put forth by the Sassanian kings are drawn. 
"At the end of the third night," says theHatoxt Nask 2 , one of the 
earliest Zoroastrian documents that have come down to us, "at the 
dawn of day, the soul of the faithful thinks that it is in a garden and 
smells its perfumes. Towards it a wind seems to blow from the 
region of the South perfumed, more perfumed than any other wind. 
Then the soul of the faithful thinks that he breathes this wind with 
his nostrils. 'Whence blows this wind, the most perfumed that I 
have breathed with my nostrils 1 * While encountering this breeze, 
his religion (conscience, daena, spiritual life), appears to him in the 
form of a beautiful young girl, shining, with white arms, robust, of 
fair growth, of fair aspect, tall, high-bosomed, of fair body, noble, 
of shining race, with the figure of one who is 15 years old, as fair in 
form as the f airest creatures that exist. Then the soul of the faithful 
speaks to her, and asks 'What virgin art thou, thou the most beautiful 
in form of the virgins that I have ever seen ? * Then she who is his 
religion answers: C youth of good mind, of good words, of good 
deeds, of good religion, I am thine own religion incarnate 3 . 3 " 

So, too, the Vendidad, which may be a little later in 
date than the document just quoted, represents Ahura Mazda 
as saying in answer to Zarathustra himself: 

to suppose that one or other predominates in the soul of everyone. Hence 
probably the degree in the Manichaean hierarchy to which any hearer 
might attain was thought to be decided for him before his birth, and 
governed his destination after death. Thus it is said in the Pistis Sophia : 
"Those who have received exalted mysteries shall be in exalted places, 
and those who have received humble mysteries in humble places in the 
light of my kingdom." GL Chavannes et Pelliot, op. tit. l fere partie, p. 533, 
ru 1 and St Augustine as there quoted. 

1 'fiie wosds given in the text are almost verbatim from En Hadim. 
See Kessfer, op. c&. pp^ 398-399; Mugel, op. dt. p. 160. 

2 On of ^ae 21 Hasfes of tlie Sassaeian Avesta, 
* Soxtetten, op. <& pw 831 

xm] Manes and the Manichaeans 311 

"After a man has disappeared, after a man dies, the impious and 
malevolent demons make their attack. When the dawn of the third 
night shines forth and the day begins to lighten, the well-armed 
Mithra arrives at the mountains giving forth holy radiance and the 
Snn rises. Then, Spitama Zarathustra. . .she comes, the beautiful, 
the well-made, the strong, of fair growth, with her dogs, full of 
discernment, rich in children [i.e. fruitful], the longed-for, virtuous 
one. She leads the souls of the faithful above the Hara Berezaiti ; 
she sustains them across the bridge Chinvat in the road of the spiritual 
divinities. Vohu Mano rises from his golden throne. Vohu Mano 
says, e faithful one, how hast thou come hither from the perishable 
world to the imperishable?' Rejoicing, the faithful pass before 
Ahura Mazda, before the beneficent Immortals, before golden thrones, 
before the house of hymns, the dwelling of Ahura Mazda, the dwelling 
of the beneficent Immortals, the dwelling of the other faithful ones. 
When the faithful is purified, the wicked and malevolent demons 
tremble by reason of the perfume after his departure as a sheep 
pursued by a wolf trembles at the [scent of the ?] wolf 1 . 55 

To return, however, to the Mahommedan account of Manes' 
doctrine. This last by no means confined his survey of the 
state of man's soul after death to the single case of the justified 

"When death draws nigh to a man who has fought for religion 
and justice, [he is represented as saying,] and who has protected 
them by protecting the Just, the gods whom I have mentioned 
appear and the devils are there also. Then he calls the gods to Ms 
help and seeks to win them by showing to them Ms works of piety, 
and that which he has done to protect the religion and the Just. 
The gods deliver Mm from the devils, while leaving him in the 
condition of a man in this world, who sees fearful shapes in his 
dreams, and who is plunged in dirt and mud*. He remains in tMs 
state until Ms Light and his Spirit are freed [evidently by trans- 
migration] when he arrives at the meeting-place of the Just. Then, 
after having wandered for long, he dons their vesture. But when 
death appears to the sinful man, to Mm who has been ruled by greed 

1 Op. cte. pp. 89 sqq. 

* See the Orphic belief about the maimtiated being plunged in mud. 
Vol. I. chap. iv. p. 131 supra. 

312 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

and desire, tlie devils draw near to him 3 they seize him, torment 
Mm, and put fearful shapes before his eyes. The gods are there 
also with the vesture, so that the sinful one thinks they have come 
to deliver him. But they have only appeared to him to reproach 
him, to remind him of his actions, and to convince him of his guilt 
in having neglected the support of the Just. He wanders unceasingly 
throughout the world, and is tortured until the coming of the End 
of the World, when he will be thrown into hell. Thus, Manes 
teaches," continues the tradition, "that there are three paths for 
the soul of man. One leads to Paradise, which is the path of the 
Just. Another leads back to the world and its terrors, which is 
the path of the protectors of the faith and the helpers of the Just. 
The third leads to hell, which is the path of the sinful man 1 ." 

Yet there is nothing to show that the sins which thus doom a 
man to hell are within his choice to commit or to leave alone 
as he chooses. Kather does it appear that his freedom from 
sin depends on the admixture of light which enters into his 
composition at his birth. Of all this the Christian tradition 
says nothing. 

It is, nevertheless, in the division here set forth of the 
adherents of the religion into the Just and the protectors of 
the Just, that the great distinction between the Manichaean 
religion and all its contemporaries appears. Both traditions 
are agreed that those who listen to the teaching of Manes are 
to be divided into five classes, viz,, the Masters who are the 
sons of Gentleness; those who are enlightened by the Sun, who 
are the sons of Knowledge or the Priests ; the Elders who are 
the sons of Intelligence ; the Just who are the sons of Discretion ; 
and the Hearers who are the sons of Discernment 2 . The first 
three classes we may safely neglect for the present, as they 
evidently correspond to the three superior or directing orders 
of the Mamchaean Church to which we shall have to return 

1 Kessler, op. tit. pp. 399-400; Fliigel, pp. 100-101. 

2 This is, I think, the only construction to be put on the words of the 

rrjs be ^rvxn s rrx T& ovopara ravra, VQVS, tWota, <pp6vr)(ris, eVtfv/ir/crts, 
Hegemonius, Acta> c. 5,, p. 15, Beeson. For the Mahommedan 
see En Nadim in Miigel, op. tit. p. 95. The whole question of 
tlie organization of the Manichaeaa Church is elaborately discussed by 
Mngel in n 22& an this passage, op. c& pp. 293-299. 

xm] Manes and the Manichaeans 313 

later ; but the last two, the Just and the Hearers, give us the 
key to the organization of the sect, and explain how it was 
able to maintain itself for so long against its numerous enemies. 
He who would enter into the religion, says the Mahommedan 
tradition, must examine himself that he may see whether he 
is strong enough to conquer desire and greed, to abstain from 
meats, from wine, and from marriage, to avoid all that can be 
hurtful in (to ?) water or fixe, and to shun magic and hypocrisy 1 . 
These abstinences are those that are demanded of the perfect 
Manichaeans, who have been called above the Just or the 
Sons of Discretion, and who with their superiors constitute the 
Manichaean Church. These are they whom the Christian tradi- 
tion speaks of as the Elect, and for whom, as we have seen, there 
is reserved after death a glorious ascension and an immediate 
return to the Paradise of Light. So Valentinus, like many other 
Gnostics, divided Christians into the two classes of pneumatics 
and psychics, the first-named of whom were to occupy a more 
distinguished position in the world to come than the other. 
There is nothing to show, however, that Valentinus or any other 
Gnostic ever imposed any discipline on the pneumatics than that 
prescribed for the psychics, or that he thought that those who 
were going to take a higher rank in the next world should 
observe a stricter mode of life in this. The Catholics, indeed, 
had already adopted the view that the celibate member of the 
Church possessed "a higher calling" than his married brethren; 
but there is no reason to suppose that they therefore assigned 
to them a higher place in the next world, or thought that those 
who had not the gift of continence were to be permitted any 
relaxation of the moral law imposed upon celibate and married 
alike. It is therefore probable that it was from Buddhism, 
with which Manes must have made himself well acquainted 
during his journeys into India, that he borrowed the scheme 
by which those who believed in the truth of his teaching could 
delay subjecting themselves to the austerities necessary for 
salvation until their next incarnation. 

However this may be, there can be little doubt that this is 
the meaning of the position he assigned to the Hearers. 

1 Kessler, op. tit. p. 398; Fliigel, op. tit. pp. 94, 95. 

314 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

"If," he says according to the Mahommedan author, "he who 
would enter into the religion does not feel strong enough to practise 
the abstinences before enumerated, let "him renounce the attempt. 
If, however, he is filled with love for the faith, jet cannot conquer 
desire and greed, let him seek to progress by protecting the faith 
and the Just, and let him fight against evil actions on the occasions 
when he can give himself to labour 1 , piety, vigilance, prayer and 
humility. This will fill him with contentment both in this ephemeral 
world, and in the eternal world to come, and he will put on the 
body of the second degree in the state which follows after death 2 . " 

Unless they are greatly belied, some of his later followers 
looked upon this as a licence to the Hearers to commit such 
sins as they chose 3 in this life, yet it is evident that this 
formed no part of Manes' original teaching. He imposed upon 
the Hearers, says the Mahommedan tradition, ten command- 
ments, which were: to abstain from prayers offered to idols, 
from lying, from avarice, from murder, from adultery, from 
false teaching, from magic, from double dealing, from doubt 
in religion and from slackness and want of energy in action. 
They also had to recite certain prayers which will be mentioned 
in their place, and to fast two days when the Moon is new 
as when she is full, as also when the Sun enters the sign 
of Sagittary. A three days' fast was also obligatory on the 
first appearance of the Moon after the entry of the Sun into 
the signs of Capricorn and of Libra. But they were to feast 
on Sunday, a day which the Perfect, according to the 
Mahommedans, kept as a fast, their own weekly feast being 
held on Monday 4 . 

The attitude of Manes to other religions was also without 

1 This is perhaps the first instance in antiquity of the Gospel of Work. 
That these virtues of the believer are made five in number, so as to accord 
with the five worlds of light, needs no demonstration. 

2 See passages from Kessler and Flugel quoted in n. 1, p. 313 supra. 

3 Eainerio Saceone, a Manichaean Perfect in Languedoo, who after- 
wards turned Inquisitor, said that he had often heard the Elect lamenting 
tiia4 tfoey had aot taken the opportunity of committing more sins before 
receiving the "Bapfcism of the Spirit" which was thought to wash them 
away. See H. C. Lea, History of the Inquisition, vol. i., p. 94. 

4 PMgel; op. c& p^ &-m . See, however, n, 4, 

xm] Manes and the Manichaeans 315 

precedent or parallel Of the Jews and of their religion lie 
seems to have had a detestation so strong and so deeply rooted 
that it is difficult not to see in it some connection with political 
events of which we have lost the record. The war of exter- 
mination which Hadrian had been forced to wage against the 
Jews of Palestine must have been over nearly a century before 
Manes began to teach; but the Babylonian Jews can hardly 
have been affected by this, and the story of the king of Adiabene 
quoted above shows that shortly before the time of Ardeshir 
they actively pursued the proselytizing policy which their 
countrymen in the West had been forced to abandon. In 
doing so, they doubtless contrived, after their manner, to 
offend the national prejudices of their hosts, while showing 
themselves greedy, as ever, of political power 1 . This probably 
provoked reprisals, and it is quite possible that Manes' teaching 
derived some of its strength from the revulsion felt by Ardeshir's 
Aryan subjects to the borrowings from Judaism to be found 
both in Mithraism and the Avestic literature. But whatever 
its cause, there can be no doubt about the hatred felt by 
Manes for the Jewish religion, which is prominent in every tra- 
dition of his teaching. The earlier Gnostics, like Marcion, had 
made the God of the Old Testament a harsh but just and well- 
meaning tyrant; but Manes would have none of this, and 
declared that he was a fiend. 

"It is the Prince of Darkness," the Christian tradition makes him 
say, "who spoke with Moses, the Jews, and their priests. Thus the 
Christians, the Jews, and the Pagans are involved in the same error 
when they worship this God. For he led them astray in the 
lusts that he taught them, since he was not the God of Truth, 

1 Josephus, Antiquities, Bk sx. oc. 2-4, breaks off his history at the 
critical point. The Book of Esther is, perhaps, sufficient proof of the 
capacity of the Oriental Jews for provoking periodical pogroms at least 
as freely as their co-religionists in modern Russia. Johnson (Oriental 
Religions), Persia, 1885, p. 410, quotes, apparently from Firdusi, that the 
"old Persian nobles" were driven by Ardeshir's reforms into Seistan, 
where they were the ancestors of the present Afghan clans. As some of 
these clans call themselves the Beni Israel, it is possible that the Jews 
rather than the nobles were expelled on this occasion, as happened before 
under Cyrus. 

316 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

Whence those who put their hope in that God who spoke with Moses 
and the Prophets will be bound with him, because they have not 
put their trust in the God of Truth. For he, the God of the Jews, 
spoke with them according to their lusts 1 ." 

In a very different spirit, however, Manes dealt with all the 
other religions that he knew. He acknowledged the Divine 
origin of the teachings of Zoroaster, of Buddha, and of Jesus 
alike, with the reservation that he should himself be regarded 
as the Paraclete, which here seems to mean nothing more than 
the Legate or Ambassador, sent by the Good God to complete 
their teaching. " Mani, the messenger of the God of Truth to 
Babylonia 2 " is the title which, as we have seen, he gives 
himself in the most authentic record of his teaching. He 
aimed, in short, at establishing a universal religion which 
should include within its scope the three faiths that between 
them commanded the allegiance of the whole civilized world, 
and should acknowledge him as its founder and chief. Had 
his plans come to fruition in his lifetime, he would have 
attained an empire over the minds of men far greater and 
wider than any ever claimed or dreamed of by the most 
ambitious of the Roman pontiffs. 

The full details of the way in which he proposed to establish 
this new faith we shall probably never know ; but discoveries 
made during the last decade have shown us that his plans were 
well fitted to their purpose. The successive expeditions of 
Drs Griinwedel and von Le Coq to Turfan have shown that up 
to as late as the xith century A.D., there was still a strong body 
of Manichaeans probably belonging to the Ouigur nation in 
Chinese Turkestan, living apparently in complete amity with 
their Buddhist countrymen 3 . The writings that were there 
discovered, to which we shall have to refer more in detail later, 

1 Hegemonins, Ada, c. xn. pp. 20-21, Beeson; Ephraem Syrus in 
Kessler, op. cit. p. 302. For Mahommedan confirmation, see Schahrastani 
in op. cit. p. 339. 

* Al Bfrtni, Clmmdogy, p. 190. 

s See Le Cocfs Short Account in JM.A.S. 1909, pp. 299-322. Another 
and more popularly written one by the same author appeared in the 
Conferences am Mus& Gmmet, Park, 1910 (BibL de Vulgarisation, t. xxxv*). 

xm] Manes and the ManicJiaeans 317 

are mostly written in a script resembling the Estranghelo or 
Syriac but with an alphabet peculiar to the Manichaean 
religious documents, and which cannot, one would think, have 
been adopted by those who used it for any other purpose than 
that of concealment 1 . Judging from this and the practice of 
the sect in Europe from the time of Diocletian onward, it 
seems highly probable that among Buddhists, the Manichaean 
hearers professed Buddhism, and among Zoroastrians, Zoro- 
astrianism, hoping that thus they might be able to turn their 
fellows to their way of thinking without openly dissenting from 
the reigning religion. The persecution that Bahram I insti- 
tuted against them immediately upon Manes' execution was 
perhaps less a reason than a pretext for this. 

This is certainly borne out by their proceedings when they 
found themselves among Christians. 

"You ask me if I believe the gospel," said the Manichaean Perfect, 
Faustus, in his dispute with St Augustine (himself for nine years 
before his conversion a Manichaean Hearer). "My obedience to its 
commands shows that I do. I should rather ask you if you believe 
it, since you give no proof of your belief. I have left my father, 
brother, wife and children and all else that the gospel requires ; and 
you ask me if I believe the gospel. Perhaps you do not know what 
is called the gospel. The gospel is nothing else than the teaching 
and the precept of Christ. I have parted with all gold and silver. 
I have left off carrying money in my purse; content with food 
obtained from day to day; without anxiety for the morrow and 
without care as to how I shall be fed or wherewithal I shall be 
clothed ; and you ask if I believe the gospel ? You see in me the 
blessings of the gospel; and yet you ask if I believe the gospel. 
You see me poor, meek, a peacemaker, pure in heart, mourning, 
hungering, thirsting, bearing persecutions and hatred for righteous- 
ness' sake; and do you doubt if I believe in the gospel 2 ? " 

So, too, Manes in the epistle to Marcellus which, although much 
altered and corrupted by its Catholic transcribers, is probably 
a genuine document, is careful to begin in language which seems 
imitated from the Epistles of St Paul : 

1 The Marcionites, another much hated sect, also used a secret script. 

2 St Augustine, contra Faustum, Bk v. c. 1. 

318 Manes and the Manichaeam [OH. 

"Manes, an apostle of Jesus Christ, and all the saints who are with 
me, and the virgins, to Marcellus, my beloved son ; Grace, mercy, 
and peace be with you from God the Father, and from our Lord 
Jesus Christ ; and may the right hand of light preserve you from 
the present evil world and from its calamities, and from the snares 
of the wicked one. Amen 1 ." 

While in the Disputation which follows and which is certainly 
a later interpolation, or possibly a concoction of some later 
author, he is represented as saying " My brother, I am indeed 
a disciple of Christ, and, moreover, an apostle of Jesus." Yet 
in spite of this and a few other passages of the same kind, it 
is plain that neither Manes, nor any of those who believed on 
his teaching, were Christians in any sense in which the term 
could not be applied to the followers of Mahommed or many 
another professedly anti-Christian teacher. Manes entirely re- 
jected the account of the Incarnation given in the Gospels, 
alleging, as a modern critic might do, that it was not the account 
of eyewitnesses, but a mass of fables which had grown up 
after the memory of the events recorded had faded away 2 . 
Jesus, he said, was not born of woman, but came forth from 
the Father or First Man, and descended from heaven in the 
form of a man about thirty years of age 3 . But the body in 
which He appeared was an illusion only and was no more that 
of a real man than the dove which descended upon Him at the 
baptism in Jordan was a real dove, and it was not tru to say 
that He was put to death by the Romans and suffered on the 
cross 4 . So far from that being the case, he declared that Jesus, 
the mortal or suffering Jesus, was nothing but the universal 
soul diffused throughout Nature and thus tormented by its 
association with matter. Thus, he said, the Jesus patibilis may 
be said to be hanging from every tree 5 . 

To say that such teaching was likely to alter in the course 
of a generation or two is merely to assert that it followed the 

1 Hegemonius, Acta t c. v., pp. 5, 6. 

2 Augustine, contra Faust. Bk vn. c. 1. 

3 Op. tit. Bk XXTTT. c, 2; ibid. Bk xxxn. c. 7. 

4 Op. tit. Bk xxvi. cc. 6, 8; ibid. Bk TTTT. c. 1. 

5 0%>. <& Bk xx. c, 2. 

xra] Manes and the Manichaeans 319 

course of evolution which can be traced in all religions, and it 
is possible that in what has been said in the last paragraph 
concerning Jesus, we have rather the opinions of the Manichaeans 
of the fourth century than those of Manes himself. Yet even 
in this we see exemplified the chameleon-like habit peculiar to 
the Manichaeans of modifying their tenets in outward appear- 
ance so as to make them coincide as nearly as possible with the 
views of those whom they wished to win over to them. Thus 
when the Catholic doctrine of the Trinity, the Three Persons 
and One God, began to take shape under the pressure of the 
Arian controversy, the Manichaeans were not long in matching 
it with a Trinity of their own 1 : 

"We worship," said Faustus the Manichaean Perfect, "under the 
triple appellation of Almighty God, the Father and His Son Christ 
and the Holy Spirit. While these are one and the same, we believe 
also that the Father properly dwells in the highest or chief light, which 
Paul calls "light inaccessible," and the Son in the second or visible 
light. And as the Son is himself two-fold according to the apostle, 
who speaks of Christ as the power of God and the wisdom of God, so 
we believe that His power dwells in the Sun and His wisdom in the 
Moon 2 . We also believe that the Holy Spirit, the third majesty, 

1 Cumont, Cosmog. Manich. p. 15, points out that the Manichaeans 
had already figured to themselves their King of the Paradise of Light as 
existing in the three Persons of Father, Mother, and Son in the shape of 
the Light, the Mother of Life and the First Man. This Trinity corresponds 
in every particular with that worshipped in Asia Minor under the names of 
Zeus (or Hadad), Cybele, and Atys, at Eleusis as Dionysos, Demeter, and 
lacchos, in Greek Egypt as Osiris, Isis, and Horus, and in Persia, according 
to M. Cumont, as Ormuzd, Spenta Armaiti, and Gay6mort. Cf. Bousset, 
Hauptprobleme, pp. 333-337. That its origin can be traced, as the last- 
named author seems to think, to the Babylonian Triad., Ea, Damkina, and 
Marduk, is more doubtful The Manichaeans really acknowledged, as they 
were never tired of affirming, only two gods, Light and Darkness, and 
considered all the lesser powers of Light, including man's soul, as formed 
from God's "substance." When, therefore, they spoke of trinities, 
tetrads, and so on, it was in all probability for the purpose of producing 
that show of outward conformity with other religions which was one of the 
most marked features of their system. 

2 This is a reversal of the position in the Pistis Sophia, where the 
female power or Virgin of Light is placed in the Sun and the male lao in 
the Moon. 

320 Manes and the Manichaeans [GEL 

has His seat and His home in the whole circle of the atmosphere 1 
By His influence and mpouring of the spirit, the Earth conceives and 
brings forth the suffering Jesus, who, as hanging from every tree, 
is the life and salvation of man 2 ." 

In like manner, while not denying them in terms, the Mani- 
chaeans attempted to refine away all the significance of the 
Crucifixion and the Atonement, by representing them as merely 
symbolical. In one Apocryphal book called the Wanderings of 
the Apostles, which seems to be of Manichaean origin, Jesus 
appears to St John, who is sunk in grief at the supposed 
sufferings of his Master, and tells him that His Crucifixion was 
a mere phantasmagoria or miracle-play performed to impress 
the plebeian crowd at Jerusalem. Then He vanishes and in His 
stead appears a cross of pure light, surrounded by a multitude 
of other forms representing the same shape and image. Prom 
this cross comes a Divine voice saying sweetly : 

"The cross of light is, for your sakes, sometimes called the Word, 
sometimes Christ; sometimes the Door, sometimes the Way; 
sometimes the Bread, sometimes the Sun ; sometimes the Resurrec- 
tion, sometimes Jesus ; sometimes the Father, sometimes the Spirit ; 
sometimes the Life, sometimes the Truth; sometimes Faith and 
sometimes Grace 3 ." 

As will presently be seen, now that we have under our hands 
the writings of Manichaean communities domiciled in Persian 
and Chinese territory, we find in them similar compromises 
with the faiths of Zoroaster and Buddha. 

Yet after the Mahommedan conquest of Asia, and in regions 
where they were free, as it would seem, from the pressure of 
their Zoroastrian and Christian competitors, the Manichaeans 
appear to have evolved a theology as formal and as detailed 
as any of the Gnostic systems which we have examined. This 

1 Compare the statement of Herodotus (Bk i. c. 131) that Zeus (or 
Ormuzd) in the opinion of the ancient Persians was the name of "the whole 
circle of air." 

2 Augustine, contra Faust. Bk xx. c. 2. 

3 This is to fee found in Harduin's Acta Consttii. The quotation in 
the text is taken from Matter, Hist, de Gnost. t* m, p. 89, and Neander, 
Ok. Hi& n. p, 187. 

xm] Manes and the Manichaeans 321 

is in the main set out by Theodore Bar Khoni, the Nestorian 
Bishop of Kashgar, in his Boole of Scholia written in Syriac and 
Mandaean which has been in part translated by the scholarly 
care of M. Pognon, late Consul of France at Aleppo, and has lately 
been commentated by M. Cumont. M. Pognon at first identified 
Bar Khoni with the nephew of the ISTestorian Patriarch Iwannis 
(Johannes or John), whose reign began in 893 A.D., and he 
quoted Assemani's Bibliotheca Orientalis in his support 1 . 
Later, however, he withdrew this, and put him a century 
earlier 2 . M. Cumont, on the other hand, thinks that Bar 
Khoni lived at the end of the vith century or the beginning 
of the viith, and therefore before the Mahommedan invasion 3 . 
In any event, the Scholia describe a body of Manichaean 
doctrine considerably later in date than any of the Christian 
sources hitherto referred to, and probably formed in an atmo- 
sphere where the necessity for outward conformity to either the 
Zoroastrian or the Christian faith was a good deal less cogent 
than it was further west. Its agreement with the Mahommedan 
tradition drawn from above is also well marked, and it derives 
much support from the Manichaean MSS. lately recovered from 
the oasis of Turfan in Turkestan, and in that of Tun-huang in 
China. It is possible, although no proofs are yet forthcoming, 
that it was this Neo-Manichaeism, as it has been called, that 
inspired the Manichaean sectaries who were imported in the 
ixth and xth centuries into Bulgaria, whence their missionaries 
found their way later into Italy, Prance, and other countries of 
Southern Europe. 

The system disclosed in these documents begins, as does 
nearly every Manichaean writing, with the assertion of the 
existence of two gods, that is to say, the God of Light and the 
God of Darkness. As the Kingdom of Darkness, whenever and 
wherever described, is the exact opposite and counterpart of 

1 Pognon, op. cit. p. 5; Assemani, Bill. Orient, t. m. p. 198 cit. 

2 Cumont, Cosmog. Munich, p. 106. It seems probable that the Kash- 
gar in question is the country in Chinese Turkestan still called by that 
name. M. Pelliot, however, will have none of this and insists that Bar 
Khdni's Kashgar was Al Wasit near Bagdad. For the controversy, see 
J.R.A.S. 1913, pp. 434 sqq., 696 sqq. and 1914, pp. 421-427. 

3 Cumont, Cosmog. Mcmich. p. 1, n. 2, and authorities there quoted, 
L. n. 21 

322 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

that of the Light, we shall not return to it again, but assume 
that in describing the one we are mutatis mutandis describing 
the other. The God of Light has one substance of which all 
the powers of light were made, but three forms or hypostases, 
called in the Greek Formula of abjuration "faces" or persons, 
which added to his own personality make a supreme tetrad. 
These three hypostases are his wisdom, power, and goodness, 
by which is probably meant that he operates in the lower 
powers through these qualities, while remaining himself remote 
in the " inaccessible light 1 ." He possesses also five houses or 
dwellings, which are also called his worlds and even his members. 
Their names according to Bar Khoni are Intelligence, Know- 
ledge, Thought, Reflexion, and Feeling 2 . These seem to be 

iravras ovs 6 Maz^s- aveiihacn: Beovs, rjroi rov 
(rairov Rarepa TOV Mfy^ovr xal rov \ry6pevov Hp>Tov*A.v8pa)7rov ...... Kal rbv 

Qvona&iJLevov TLcLpBevov TOV <p&Tos K.T.X. "I anathematize all those whom 
Manes lyingly makes gods, to wit, the Father of Greatness in four Persons, and 
the so-called First Man . . . and the famous Virgin of Light," etc., Kessler, op. 
cit. p. 403. TTiR quotation of the Formula is from the works of the Apostolic 
Fathers edited by Cotelerius in 1724 (Amsterdam). It seems to have been 
administered to converts from Maniehaeism to Catholicism down to a 
very late date. See Beausobre, Hist, du ManicMisme, t. i. pp. 66-67. 

2 Pognon, op. cit. p. 184. Cumont, Cosmog. Manicli. pp. 9, 10, would 
substitute Reason for Knowledge and Will for Feeling. The Greek names 
as given in the Acta (Hegemonius, op. cit. c. x. p. 15, Beeson) are vovs, 
evvoiaj <fip6vr)crLs, evQvfjuja-ts, \oyi(rp6s which the Latin translator makes into 
mens, sensus, prudentia, intellectus, cogitatio. The first of these may pass 
as correct, since Nous appears as the first emanation of the Highest 
God in all the systems which preceded that of Manes and from which he 
is likely to have copied. Of the rest, it can only be said that they are 
the translations by scribes of Syriac or Mandaite words which were ill 
calculated to express metaphysical abstractions, and that their copyists 
were seldom well acquainted with the etymology of any of the three 
languages. Hence they generally made use of what they thought were 
the corresponding expressions in the works of great heresiologists like 
Irenaeus and Hippolytus without troubling themselves much as to their 
appropriateness. In the passage from the Acta above quoted, the five 
qualities named are said to be the "names of the soul," which is explained 
by what is said later (op. cit. c. x. p. 17, Beeson) that "the air (a^p) is 
ihe soul of men and beasts and birds and fish and creeping things." En 
Nadim (Kessler, op. tit. p. 387 ; Flugel, p. 86), as has been said on p. 291 
givea the "members of the air" as Gentleness, Knowledge, Intelli- 

xm] Manes and the Manichaeans 323 

ranged in this order below the dwelling of the inaccessible light, 
so as to cut of all approach to it by a fivefold wall. On the 
attack of the powers of darkness before mentioned, the God of 
Light, called by Bar Khoni the Father of Greatness, that is 
to say, the Very Great or Greatest 1 , creates by his word the 
Mother of Life, who in her turn evokes the First Man as already 
described. Thus is constituted, if M. Cumont be right, the 
First Triad of Father, Mother, and Son 2 . From the Turfan 
documents, we know that the Father was called, in Turkestan 
at any rate, by the name of Azrua or Zervan, and the Son 
Khormizta or Ormuzd 3 . As for the appellation of the Mother 
we are still in ignorance 4 . 

gence, Discretion and Discernment, which are the same as those which 
he has just attributed to the Kong of the Paradise of Light. St Augustine 
(c. Faust. Bk xx. c. 15) says in like manner that the Manichaeans thought 
their souls "members of God," which seems to refer to the same belief. 
Bar Khoni (Pognon, op. cit. p. 186), as has been said, not only assigns the 
five dwellings of Intelligence, Knowledge, Thought, Keflexion and Feeling 
to the Living Spirit, but makes him draw Ms five sons from them, and 
M. Cumont (Cosmog. Manich. p. 10, n. 3) quotes the Acta Thomae as saying 
that the Third Legate or Srosh is "the Legate of the five members, Nous, 
Ennoia, Phronesis, Enthymesis and Logismos." From all which we may 
gather that the Supreme God of Light and his "Second" and "Third" 
creations were each alike thought to have the same five dwellings or 
hypostases consisting of abstract qualities, although the exact significance 
of the names given to them for the present escapes us. 

1 This is the usual Oriental and Semitic figure of speech which leads 
Arabs at the present day to nickname any European with a large beard 
"the Father of Hair," and makes the Sphinx of Ghizeh the "Father of 
Terrors." In the same way, the Mother of Life means doubtless the Yery 
Great Life or Source of Life. 

2 Cumont, Cosmog. Manich. p. 15. 

3 See the Khuastuamft 9 pp. 335, 342 infra, and the Tun-huang treatise 
(Chavannes et Pelliot, op. cit. p. 513, and n. 1). Cf. also Muller, Hand- 
sctoiften-Reste, p. 102. 

4 She cannot possibly be the Virgin of Light, as in the Acta she is said 
to retire at the Ecpyrosis into the Moon-ship along with that personage. 
See Hegemonius, op. vit. c. TTTT. p, 21, Beeson. The name "Virgin of 
Light" also appears in the Turfan texts as an epithet of Jesus, if the words 
are not wrongly translated. See Muller, HandscJvriften-Reste, pp. 75, 77. 
The name Nahnaha given her by En Nadim has been referred to in tu 2, 
p. 300 supra. 


324 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

When the First Man or Ormuzd marched against his enemy, 
he also evoked five elements called sometimes his sons and 
sometimes his members. These are the Ether, the Wind, the 
Light, the Water, and the Fire before mentioned, which together 
compose the soul of the world, and hence of man, who is in 
every respect its image. When he was conquered by Satan 
and dragged down to the lowest pit of hell, he prayed, says Bar 
Kh6ni, seven times to the Very Great Father, and he in com- 
passion created, again by his word, the Friend of the Lights 1 , 
who evoked the Great Ban 2 , who evoked the Living Spirit. 
Here we have the second triad or "second creation," of which, 
as has been said, only the last member takes any active part 
in what follows. As we have already seen, the Living Spirit 
speaks a word like a sharp sword, and the image of the First 
Man answers 3 and is drawn up out of hell. These two, the 
sword or Appellant and the image or Respondent, together 
mount towards the Mother of Life and the Living Spirit } and 
the Mother of Life " clothes" the Image no doubt with a form 
or " nature, " while the Living Spirit does the same with the 
compelling word 4 . Then they return to the earth of darkness 
where remains the soul of the First Man in the shape of his 
five sons. 

1 Probably Mithras, who is in the Vedas and elsewhere called "Mithra 
the Friend." Mithras is invoked under his own name in the Turfan texts 
(Miiller, Handscfiriften-jReste, p. 77), but the fragment is too mutilated to 
be able to deduce from it his place in the pantheon. 

2 This name, to be found nowhere but in Bar Kh6ni, cannot be ex- 
plained. Pognon says it may be written the Great Laban, which gets us 
no nearer to its meaning. 

3 The image is probably his body or substance, which is of the substance 
of the Very Great Father. So Satan is in the Coptic Trattato gnostico of 
Rossi quoted in n. 2, p. 300 supra described as the dpx^7rXao-/io, probably 
as being the very substance of darkness as the Very Great Father is of the 

* This is the conjecture of M, Cumont (Co&nog. Manich. pp. 24, 25). 
As he says in note 5 on the first-mentioned page, the passage as it stands 
is nxxMisistent, The Appellant and Respondent under the names of 
Kroshtag and Padwafehtag appear in the EJmaMuamift and also in the 
Tun-httaag treajfee (pj>* 21 $q&) without the part they play in the world 
apparent. The former doeumentv however (see p. 34 

xm] Manes and the Manichaeans 325 

In the meantime, the Living Spirit has also given birth to 
five sons. He, like the Very Great Father of whom he is perhaps 
the reflexion, has five worlds named like those of his paradigm 
from which he draws certain other powers. From his Intelli- 
gence, says Bar Khoni, he produces The Ornament of Splendour, 
who is none other than the Splenditenens we have seen drawing 
the heavens after him; from his Keason, the Great King of 
Honour, who is described as sitting in the midst of the celestial 
armies; from his Thought, Adamas of the Light armed with 
shield and spear ; from his Reflexion the King of Glory whose 
function is to set in motion the three wheels of the fire, the 
water, and the wind, which apparently raise to the upper 
spheres the portions of those elements still left below; and 
finally from his Feeling the great Omophorus or Atlas who 
bears the earths on his shoulders 1 . Immediately on evocation, 
three of these powers were set to work to kill and flay the rulers 
of darkness, and to carry their skins to the Mother of Life. She 
stretches out the skins to make the sky, thereby fashioning ten 
or eleven or even twelve heavens. She throws their bodies on to 
the Earth of Darkness, thereby forming eight earths 2 . Thus the 
soul or sons of the First Man are rescued from the Powers of 
Darkness, and the machinery of the redemption of the Light is 
set on foot. 

There is, however, a third act to the drama. Again, the 
lesser Powers of Light, this time the Mother of Life, the First 
Man, and the Living Spirit, cry to the Very Great Father. 

infra), speaks of them as being concerned in the purification of the Light. 
MM. Chavannes and Pelliot (op. cit. p. 521, n. 1) think it possible that they 
may represent the portions of the "armour" of the First Man which -were 
not sullied by contact with matter, and compare them to the last two 
Amshaspands, Haurvetat and Ameretat. See also their Traitt Mani- 
cheen, etc. 2 me ptie, in the Journal Asiatigue,, xi serie, 1. 1. (1913), p. 101. 
One might liken them to the Cautes and Cautopates appearing in the 
Mithraic monuments, as to which see Chapter XH, p. 246 supra. 

1 All these subordinate deities were known to St Augustine. Cf. id. 
c. Jdust. Bk xv. c. 6, 

2 Evidently Manes accepted the dictum of Valentinus quoted above 
(Chap. IX, p. 104 supra)) that with celestial powers it is always the female 
who gives the form. 

326 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

Satan, or, as the Mahommedan tradition calls Mm, Hummama, 
is still in existence, although his "sons/' the Kulers of Darkness, 
the Hot Wind, the Smoke, and the others have been crucified 
or fixed in the firmament, and he is still actively working with 
his remaining powers against the Light. The Light-Powers 
feel themselves contaminated and oppressed by the contact, 
and perhaps even in some fear lest they should again have the 
worst in a renewal of the conflict. Again, the Very Great Father 
hears them and sends to their assistance a third creation, called 
this time simply the Messenger. 

Who this Messenger is, is the main puzzle of the new 
documents. The author of the Acta knew something of him, 
for he speaks of a "Third Legate," who, when the world is 
burning in the great conflagration which will mark the 
redemption of the last particles of light, will be found in the 
Ship of the Moon with Jesus, the Mother of Life, the Virgin of 
Light and the twelve other powers to be presently mentioned 1 . 
M. Cumont, in his able analysis of Bar Khoni's system, thinks 
that this "Third Legate 3 ' resembles the Neryosang of the 
Persians, who in the later Mazdean literature is made the 

1 Hegemonius, Acta, c. xm, p. 21, Beeson. At de -n-popoXal -rracrai, 6 
'Irftrovs 6 (V T6) /UKpoi TrXoup, /cat 77 pffTrjp rrjs fcoJjs, KCLL ol 5a>d/ca Kvf3pvfJTai, 
/cai r\ irapQevos TOV fyarrbs KCLL 6 irpeo-fivTTjS 6 rpiros 6 V ra> jueydXa) TrXotcp, K.CLL 
TO &v "irvevfia KOI TO T^i^os TOV /xeyaXou Trvpbs /cat TO Tel^os TOV ave'fiov, /cat 
TOV depos, /cat TOV wSaros, KOL TOV ecr&>0' Trvpbs TOV Q>VTOS irpbs Toy piKpuv 


Trore Tf(rw, a>v OVK jj,a6ov TT\v TToo'oTrjTa. "But all the emanations [*.fi.], 
Jesus who is in the small ship, and the Mother of Life and the 12 pilots, 
and the Virgin of Light, and the Third Legate who is in the large ship, 
and the Living Spirit and the wall [it should be " guardian," aa 
MM. Chavannes and Pelliot explain] of the great fire, and the guardian of 
the Ether, and of the air, and of the water, and of the inner living fire, 
abide near the lesser light until the fire has consumed the whole Cosmos. 
But for how many years I have not learned." The Latin version runs: 
Prolationes aukem omnes Jesus in modica navi, et mater vitae et duodedm 
gwbernctfores et virgo lutis et senior tertim. Unde et majori in navi vivens 
spiritus adMbetwr, et mwrus ignis iUius magni, et vwwrus venti et aeris et 
aquae et interioris ignis vivi, guae omnia in luna Tialitabnnt usguequo totum 
mundum igm$ abswnat ; in guot autem annis numerum non didici : which 
appears to be nonsense. Tbe number of years which Turbo, who is here 
speaking, had not learmed, is said by En Nadim to be 1468. 

xm] Manes and the Manichaeans 327 

herald of Ormuzd, and has also features in common with 
Gayomort the First Man, and Mithras 1 . But it is plain from 
the Tun-huang treatise lately discovered, as well as from the 
fragments found at Turfan, that the Third Legate corresponds 
most closely to the Mazdean genius or divinity Sraosha, the 
angel of Obedience 2 . Sraosha is described in the Srdsh Yashts 
as the "Holy and Strong Srosh," "the Incarnate Word, a 
mighty-speared and lordly god." He it is who is called the 
"fiend-smiter," who is said to watch over the world and to 
defend it from the demons, especially at night, to fight for the 
souls of the good after death, and, in the older Mazdean tra- 
ditions, to judge the dead with Mithra and Rashnu as his 
assessors, like Rhadamanthos, Minos, and Eacus among the 
Greeks 3 . In the Turfan texts he is called the mighty, and in 
the Tun-huang treatise is likened to a judge, while in both sets 
of documents he has his proper appellation of Srosh 4 . 

This third creation was no more content than his two 
predecessors to enter upon the task allotted to him without 
further help. His first act upon arriving hither, according to 
Bar Khoni, was to evoke or call into existence twelve virgins 

1 Oumont, Cosmog. Manich. pp. 58 sqq. and Appendix I. 

2 Chavannes et Pelliot, op. cit. (l fere ptie), p. 522, and n. 1. For the 
part played by him in the Chinese treatise see op. cit. p. 536, and n. 2. 
He is called "Mighty Sr6sh" in the Turfan texts (MtiUer, HandsoJvriften- 
Reste, p. 75). 

3 J. Darmesteter, The Zend Avesta, part I. (S. B. E. vol. 4, pp. 87, 99) 
and part n. (S. B. E. vol. 23, pp. 159-167). All the passages in which he is 
referred to come from the Vendidad, but he is also mentioned in the 
Bundahish. See West, Pahlavi Texts, part I. (S. B. E. vol. 5, p. 128). 

4 See n. 2 supra. M. Cumont (Cosmog. Manich. p. 34) thinks that 
this Messenger was added to the two triads (of Father, Mother, and Son, 
and the Friend of the Lights, Great Ban, and Living Spirit, respectively) in 
order to make up "the sacred number of seven/ ' But seven is a number 
singularly neglected by the Manichaeans, who paid the greatest reverence 
to five, and preferred to seven the three and the twelve. Nor do I think 
that there is any real parallel in Manichaeism to the Seven Amshaspands 
of Zoroastrianism. The actual word amshaspand is used in the Tun-huang 
treatise (Chavannes et Pelliot, op. cit. l* rt ptie, p. 544), but with an entirely 
different signification from that of archangel or divinity. It seems there 
to mean simply "element." Cf. Chavannes et Pelliot, op. cit. 2 me partie, 
p. 101. 

328 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

with, their vestures, their crowns, and their guards. The 
Turfan texts give us the names of these powers, four of whom 
seem to be attributes of sovereignty, and eight of them virtues. 
Their names in the order of the new texts are respectively, 
Dominion, Wisdom, Victory, Persuasion, Purity, Truth, Faith, 
Patience, Uprightness, Goodness, Justice and Light, and they 
are probably the twelve "pilots " whom the Ada describe as being 
at the Ecpyrosis in the Moon-ship with their father, with Jesus, 
and with the other powers 1 . But there is much plausibility in 
M. Cumont's theory that this Third Legate or Srosh is supposed 
until that event to inhabit the Sun, and that his 12 " daughters " 
are the signs of the Zodiac among whom he moves 2 . According 
to Bar Khoni, it is the same Legate who is ordered by the Great 
Ban to create a new earth and to set the whole celestial 
machinery the Sun and Moon-ships and the three wheels of 
fire, air, and water in motion 3 . Yet we hear nothing in any- 
other document of any addition to the number of eight earths 
already created, and we can only therefore suppose that Bar 
Khoni's phrase refers to the gradual purification of this world 
of OUTS by Srosh. 

Bar Khoni also makes the appearance of this last Legate 
responsible for the appearance of man upon the earth, as to 
which he recites a story which seems at first sight to be an 
elaboration of the Gnostic and Manichaean tradition preserved 
by the Christians and mentioned above. The Legate, he makes 

1 I can find no parallel to these powers in any other system, save that 
of the Pistis Sophia, where appear twelve Saviours of the Treasure-house of 
Light, from whom the souls of the Twelve Apostles of Jesus were said to 
be drawn. If, therefore, they are not the signs of the Zodiac, they may be 
an invention of the Manichaeans to accord with the magistri or highest 
order of their Church (see p. 330 infra). 

2 Cumont, Co&mog. Manich. p. 36. 

3 Pognon, op. oit. pp, 189, 190. He says it was the Messenger (or 
Srdsh) who ordered the Great Ban to create a new world. M. Kugener, 
however (Cumont* Cosmog. Manich. p. 37, n. 4), says that the passage can 
be read as in the text, and this avoids the improbability of the younger 
power or Third Legate giving orders to one of the "second creation." 
The three wheels, fire, water^ and earth, may possibly have been conceived 
as snrrooBding fto earth, as with the Ophites of the Diagram. Cf. Chap. 
VIZI, n. 3, p. 

xm] Manes and the Manichaeans 329 

Manes say, was of both, sexes, and on his appearance in the 
Sun-ship, both the male and female riders of Darkness became 
so filled with desire that they began to give up the light which 
they had taken from the sons of the First Man. With this was 
mingled their own sin, half of which fell into the sea and there 
gave birth to a horrible monster like the King of Darkness. 
This was conquered and slain by Adamas of the Light, but that 
which fell upon the land fructified as the five kinds of trees 1 . 
Moreover, the female demons, who were pregnant at the time, 
miscarried and their untimely births ate of the buds of the 
trees. Yet these females remembered the beauty of the Legate 
whom they had seen, and Asaqlun or Saclas 2 , son of the King 
of Darkness, persuaded them to give him their sons and 
daughters, in order that he might make from them an image of 
the Legate. This they did, when he ate the male children and 
his wife Namrael consumed the female. In consequence 
Namrael gave birth to a son and a daughter who were called 
Adam and Eve. Jesus was sent to Adam and found him sleep- 
ing a sleep of death, but awoke him, made him stand upright, 
and gave him to eat of the Tree of Life, while he separated him 
from his too seductive companion. This story is not confirmed 
by any of the new -documents ; and in the present state of our 
knowledge it is impossible to say whether it contains an old 
Asiatic tradition, of which the Biblical accounts of the proto- 
plasts and of the Sons of God making love to the daughters of 
men are the only remnants which have till now come down to 
us, or whether as is at least as likely the whole story is a 
blend by the Manichaeans of Jewish, Mandaite, and Pagan 
legends. The main point in it for our consideration is its 
introduction of a Jesus who is certainly not the same as the 

1 I read this, perhaps wrongly, thus instead of Five Trees as does Pognon 
(op. cit. p. 191). The five kinds of trees are often referred to in the Tun-huang 
treatise and in the Khitastuanift. 

2 This Saclas, who appears many times in Greek heresiology with his 
wife Nebrod, called in the text Namrael (for references, see Cumont, 
Cosmog. ManicTi. p. 73, and notes 3, 4, and 5), was known to Hippolytus, 
who uses both names in his description of the tenets of the Peratae, a name 
which may be equivalent to that of the Medes. See Hipp. Philosoph. Bk 
v. c. 14, pp. 194, 195, Cruice. 

330 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

Jesus patibilis whom St Augustine and the other Christian 
Fathers make Manes describe as born of the Living Spirit and 
the Earth, and as hanging on every tree. This other Jesus, 
who came to the earth in the time of Adam, is a fourth emissary 
or Saviour put forth by the second and third creations according 
to the Fihrist and called by Bar Khoni "Jesus the shining one. 55 
In the Turfan texts he is, as has been said, perhaps equated 
with the Virgin of Light, and in the Tun-huang treatise he is 
spoken of as "Jesus the Victorious 1 ." Evidently he is con- 
ceived as one of the Burkhans or Buddhas who fight against 
the Powers of Darkness, and the Jesus patibilis is but another 
name for the fragments of light or "armour 55 of the First Man 
left on this earth. The borrowing of the name revered among 
Christians is but one of the compromises by which the Mani- 
chaeans hoped to draw those of other faiths into their net. 

A like plasticity is shown in the organization of the Mani- 
chaean Church. The first disciples of Manes, to whom he gave 
special commandments, were, according to Christian tradition, 
only seven in number, in which if anywhere in the system we 
may see a reflexion of the seven Amshaspands of the Avesta 2 . 
But later there seems to have been instituted a band of twelve 
Apostles in manifest imitation of the Apostles of Jesus, who 
perhaps corresponded to the Masters or highest degree that we 
have seen called the Sons of Gentleness. These were presided 
over by a Manichaean Pope who figured as the representative 
and Vicegerent of Manes himself. There were also seventy-two 
bishops answering to the seventy -two disciples of Christ, who are 
perhaps to be identified with the Sons of Knowledge. Then 
came the Presbyters or Sons of Intelligence whose functions were 
chiefly those of missionaries and who were perpetually, like 
Faustus, travelling for the propagation of the faith 3 . This seems 

1 Chavannes et Pelliot, op. cti* P re ptie, p. 566, and n. 3. 

2 Hegemonius, Acta, c. xi. p. 18, Beeson, 

3 Augustine, de Ha&resibus, c. 46, p. 210, Oehler. See also Chavannes 
et Pelliot, op. tit. l ire ptie, p. 569, and n. 2; p. 572, and nn. 2, 3; and 
p. 581, and n, 4. MM. Chavannes and Pelliot discuss the question of the 
oigamization of the Manichaean Church in the second part of their memoir. 
See op. dt. 2 me ptie, pp. 193, 196 and n. 2. They also give a dissertation on 

xm] Manes and the Manichaeans 331 

to have been the organization generally adopted for Christian 
countries, and we meet with it there up to a very late date. 
Yet there is no reason to suppose that it was necessarily copied 
by the Manichaeans of Central Asia or India, or that the 
Manichaeans always obeyed some central authority. What 
organization they did adopt outside Europe and Africa we shall 
probably have to wait to discover when more of the documents 
coming from Turkestan have been deciphered. 

The extreme simplicity of the Manichaean ritual also made 
easy to them all such adaptations to the ways of their neigh- 
bours. Hating images with as much energy, perhaps, as 
Zoroaster himself, they had neither statues nor lights nor 
incense in their meeting-places, which must in the West have 
been as bare and as unadorned as a Scottish conventicle. The 
whole service seems to have consisted of hymns and prayers, 
in the first of which the mythology of the sect doubtless found 
expression, while the second mainly consisted of those praises 
of the Powers of Light, which praises* were thought, as has been 
said, to have an actual and objective existence and thus to 
fulfil a considerable part in the scheme of redemption. Up to 
the present we have very few examples of the hymns. The 
Hymn of the Soul, of which Prof. Bevan has published an English 
translation, is probably Manichaean in origin 1 , and St Augustine 
tells of a "love song" in which the Father, meaning thereby 
probably Srosh, the third legate 2 , is represented as presiding at 
a banquet crowned with flowers and bearing a sceptre, while 
twelve gods, three from each quarter of the globe, are grouped 
round him "clothed in flowers" singing praises and laying 
flowers at his feet. These are said to represent the seasons 3 ; 
and we hear also of myths doubtless expressed in song describing 

the common life of the Elect. It remains to be seen whether this was 
anything more than a copy of the monastic institutions of the Buddhists. 
For obvious reasons, such an organization was not adopted in lands 
where they had outwardly to conform to other religions. 

1 So Professor Harnack and Mr Conybeare in the Encyc. Brit, (xith 
ed.), vol. xvn. p. 576, s.v. Manichaeism. 

2 "Beatus pater" is the name given to the Tertius legatus by Evodius, 
de recta fide, passim. 

3 Augustine, c. Faust. Bk sv. c. 5. 

332 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

the great angel Splenditenens, whose care is the portions of 
Light still imprisoned in matter and who is always bewailing 
their captivity 1 ; and of his fellow angel Omophorus who, as 
has been said, bears the world on his shoulders like the classical 
Atlas 2 . Doubtless, too, some of these hymns described that 
last conflagration, which seems to have occupied so great 
a place in the speculations of the early Manichaeans, when the 
justified faithful, secure in the two great ships which sail about 
on the ocean of the upper air, shall behold the world in flames 
and the last portion of the imprisoned Light mounting in the 
Column of Praises, while Satan and his hosts are confined for 
ever in the gross and dark matter which is henceforth to be 
their portion 3 . Possibly the Turfan discoveries may yet recover 
for us some important fragments of this lost literature. 

With regard to the prayers, we are a little better informed. 
"Free us by thy skill, for we suffer here oppression and torture 
and pollution, only that thou (the First Man?) mayest mourn 
unmolested in thy kingdom," is one of those which St Augustine 
has preserved for us 4 . So, too, the Mahommedan tradition has 
handed down a series of six doxologies or hymns of praise out 
of a total of twelve which seem to have been obligatory, perhaps 
on all Manichaeans, but certainly on the Perfect. The suppliant 
is, we are told, to stand upright, to wash in running water or 
something else, in which we may perhaps see either the origin 
or an imitation of the ceremonial ablutions of the Mussulman, 
then to turn towards the Great Light, to prostrate himself and 
to say : 

" Blessed be our guide, the Paraclete, the Messenger of the 

1 Op. tit. Bk xx. c. 9. 

2 Cumont, Gosmog. Manich. App. 2, "L'Omophore." He shows that 
this belief in an angel who supports the world on his shoulders goes back 
to the Assyrian cylinder-seals, where is found a world-bearing divinity in 
exactly the same pose as that reproduced in the Mithraic bas-reliefs. 

3 One of the silk banners obtained by the German expedition seems to 
have depicted this scene. See A. von Le Coq, Chotscho : Facsimile- Wieder- 
gaben der Wichtigerer Funde der Ersten Kgl. Preuss. Expedition nach 
Torfam, Berlin, 1013, Bd 1, p. 1 and PL iv. 6. 

4 Augustine, c, Faust. Bk xx. c. 17. Is the prayer addressed to the 
First Man or to Splenditmens, whom St Augustine represents as mourning 
over the poHotion of the Light? 

xm] Manes and the Manic/iaeans 333 

Light. Blessed be his angels, his guards, and highly praised 
his shining troops." 

Then he is to rise and, prostrating himself again, to say : 

"Thou highly-esteemed one, thou shining Mani our guide, thou 
the root of illumination, branch of uprightness, thou the great tree, 
thou who art the sovereign Remedy." 

A third prostration, and the praise runs : 

"I prostrate myself and praise with a pure heart and a sincere 
tongue, tie Great God, the Father of the Lights and of their elements, 
the most highly praised, the glorified, thee and all thy Majesty and 
thy blessed worlds that thou hast called forth ! To praise thee is 
to praise equally thy troops, thy justified ones, thy word, thy 
majesty, thy good pleasure. For thou art the God who is all Truth, 
all Life, and all Justice." 

Then comes a fourth prostration and the sentence : 

"I praise all the gods, all the shining angels, all the lights, and all 
the troops who are from the Great God, and I prostrate myself before 

The speech after the fifth prostration is : 

"I prostrate myself and I praise the great troops, and the shining 
gods who, with their Wisdom spread over the Darkness, pursue it 
and conquer it." 

While the sixth, and last given in full, is simply : 

"I prostrate myself and I praise the Father of Majesty, the eminent 
one, the shining one who has come forth from the two sciences 1 ." 

It seems fairly plain that these praises are addressed not 
so much to the "King of the Paradise of Light" or Highest 
God of Goodness as to the lesser Powers of Light. The recent 
expeditions of European scholars to Central Asia have succeeded 
in recovering for us almost in full the Confession-Prayer repeated 

1 The praises in the text are all given by En Nadim. See Flugel, op. 
cit. p. 96. Are "the two sciences" the Living Spirit and his Intelligence 
or Reason? If so the "Father of Majesty" probably means the Beatus 
Pater of note 2 3 p. 331 supra. 

334 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

ritually by the Manichaean Hearers or laymen which, besides 
confirming the Christian and Mahommedan accounts of Manes' 
teaching summarized above, shows a greater belief in the 
efficacy of repentance and the enforcement of a stricter morality 
upon all classes of Manichaeans than we should have imagined 
from the accounts of their adversaries 1 . We are fortunate in 
possessing more than one text of this Confession-Prayer, that 
found by the energy of our English emissary, Dr (now Sir Marc 
Aurel) Stein, in the "Cave of the Thousand Buddhas" at Tun- 
huang, proving almost identical with the one discovered in 
Turfan by the Russian Expedition and now in St Petersburg, 
while both can be checked and supplemented by fragments also 
found at Turfan by Profs. Griinwedel's and von Le Coq's 
expeditions to the same place and taken to Berlin 2 . The title 
and first few lines of this prayer have been lost, owing to the 
fact that the Chinese plan of writing on a continuous sheet of 
paper many yards in length, which was then rolled up with the 
last lines innermost, was adopted by its transcribers. All the 
specimens yet found are in Turkish, the Russian MS. being in 
the dialect called after the nation using it, Ouigour or TJighur, 
and like that found by Dr Stein and the Berlin fragments, in 
the Manichaean modification of the Estranghelo or Syriac 
script. The prayer or litany is in 15 sections or classes, the 
number having doubtless a mystical reference 3 , and is followed 
in the Russian and English examples by a recapitulation which 
is not without value. The version which follows is a compound 

1 The Mediaeval Inquisitors were in especial never tired of denouncing 
the immorality of the Manichaean Hearers. See H. C. Lea, History of the 
Inquisition, index. 

2 The original documents are described by Prof. A. von Le Coq in 
" Turkish Khuastuanift from Tun-huang," J.R.A.S. 1911, pp. 277-279. 

8 There are many allusions in Manichaean literature to three worlds 
of light, -which seem to be (1) the light inaccessible, or heaven of God; 
(2) the light intelligible, i.e. that can be comprehended by the mind only, 
which is inhabited by the First Man; and (3) the perceptible light, of 
which the Sim and Moon are the rulers. See especially Chavannes et 
Peliot, op. c&. 1* ptie, pp. 564 and 586, and 2 me ptie, p. 102, n. 2. 
The Mamehaeaaas' addiction to the number five needs no insistence. 
^Fifteen, i.e. 3 X 5, is therefore a number which came naturally to them. 

xm] Manes and the Manichaeans 335 

of all the three sources mentioned above, and has been here 
divided into three parts, although it is not so in the original, 
for convenience of commentar7. 


Sect. I. "[The Son of ?] the God Khormuzta even the Fivefold 
God descended from the heavens with the purity of all the gods, to 
war against the Demon ; he (the Fivefold God) battled against the 
Shimnus 1 of evil deeds, and against the five species of the Kingdom 
of the Demons. God and the Devil, Light and Darkness then 
intermingled. The youth of the Divine Khormuzta even the Five- 
fold God, and our souls, joined battle with Sin and the Demon- world 
and became ensnared and entangled with it. All the princes of the 
Demons came with the insatiable and shameless Demon of Envy 
and a hundred and forty myriads of demons banded together in 
evil intent, ignorance, and folly. He himself, the Born and Created 
(i.e. the Fivefold God or son of Khormuzta) forgot the eternal heaven 
of the Gods and became separated from the Gods of Light. Hence, 
my God ! if the Shimnu (Great Devil) of evil intent has led astray 
our thoughts and inclined us to devilish deeds. If, becoming thereby 
foolish and without understanding, we have sinned and erred against 
the foundation and root of all bright spirits, even against the pure 
and bright Azrua the Lord 2 . If thereby Light and Darkness, God 
and the Devil have intermingled. . . 

here follows a lacuna of several pages which Prof, von Le Coq 
suggests was filled with "an explanation of the allegorical story 
of the combat" and its practical application. 

" . . .If we have said. . .is its foundation and root. If we have said 
if anyone animates a body it is God ; or that if anyone Mils, it is 
God. If we have said Good and Evil have alike been created by 
God. If we have said it is He [God] who has created the eternal 

1 Shimnu seems to be the Bnddhist word for " devil" Cf. Neander, 
Ch. Hist. voL n. p. 181. Prof, von Le Coq (J.E.A.S. 1911, p. 300) says it 
is of Soghdian origin. Chavannes et Pelliot, op. cit. l fere ptie, p. 523, n. 3, 
seek to show that it is the equivalent of Ahriman. 

2 On this word see p. 323 supra; cf. Chavannes et Pelliot, op. cit. l fere 
ptie, p. 542, n. 2, which seems to summarize all that there is to be said 
about it, and p. 342 infra. 

336 Manes and the Maniehaeans [OH. 

Gods. If we have said the Divine Khormuzta and the Shimmz 
(Great Devil) are brethren 1 . my God, if in our sin we have spoken 
such awful blasphemies, having unwittingly become false to God. 
If we have thus committed this unpardonable sin. my God, 
I N.N. 2 now repent. To cleanse myself from sin, I pray : Mandstdr 
Urzd ! (My sin remit I) " 

Sect. II. "When because of the God of the Sun and Moon and 
of the Gods enthroned in the two resplendent Palaces, the foundation 
and root of the light of all the Burkhans 3 of Earth and Water go to 
the heaven prepared for their assembly (foundation and root), the 
first gate they reach is the God of the Sun and Moon. In order to 
deliver the Fivefold God and to sever the Light from the Darkness 
he rolls along the lower part of the heavens in fulness and lights up 
the four corners of the earth. my God, if in our sin we have 
unwittingly sinned against the God of the Sun and Moon, the Gods 
enthroned in the two resplendent Palaces. If, although calling him 
the True, Mighty, and Powerful God, we have not believed in him. 
If we have uttered many spoken blasphemies. If we have said the 
God of the Sun and Moon dies, and his rise and setting comes [?] 
not by [Ms own?] strength, and that should he [trust to his?] own 
strength, he will not rise [ ?]. If we have said, our own bodies were 
created before the Sun and Moon. To cleanse ourselves from this 
unwitting sin also, we pray: Mandstdr Mrzd (Our sin remit)." 

Sect. HI. "Since, in defence of the Fivefold God, even the 
youth of the Divine Khormuzta, his five members, that is to say, 
First, the God of the Ether; Secondly, the God of the Wind; 
Thirdly, the God of the Light; Fourthly, the God of the Water; 
Fifthly, the God of the Fire, having battled against Sin and the 

1 This was of course the exact statement of Zervanism, which the 
Kliwstuanift implicitly condemns. Of. Mihr Nerses' proclamation in 450 
A.r>. quoted on p. 285 supra. 

2 This was the name of the owner, which was Raimast Parzind in the 
Tun-huang text of Sir Marc Stein, 

3 This was the name given to the incarnate, as distinguished from the 
spiritual, messengers of the God of Light to man. Thus Zoroaster is 
always spoken of in Maniehaean literature as a Burkhan, and doubtless 
the historical Buddha and Jesus were included in the same category. 
Of. dmvannes et Peffiot, op. tit. I 6 " ptie, p. 572, n. 2. 

xin] Manes and the Manichaeans 337 

Demon- world were ensnared and entangled 1 , and have intermingled 
with the Darkness. Since they were unable to go to the heaven of 
God and are now upon the earth. Since the ten heavens above, the 
eight earths beneath, exist on account of the Fivefold God. Since 
of everything that is upon the earth the Fivefold God is the Majesty, 
the Eadiance [?], the Likeness, the Body, the Soul, the Strength, the 
Light, the Foundation and the Eoot. my God, if in our sin we 
have unwittingly offended against or caused grief to the Fivefold 
God by an evil and wicked mind. If we have allowed our fourteen 
members to gain domination over us. If by taking animated beings 
with our ten snake-headed fingers and our thirty-two teeth, we have 
fed upon them and have thus angered and grieved the Gods [?] 2 . 
If we have in any way sinned against the dry and wet earth, 
against the five kinds of animals, and against the five kinds of 
herbs and trees. my God, to cleanse ourselves from sin, so pray 
we now : Mandstdr Mrzd I (Our sin remit !) " 

Sect. IY. "If we have unwittingly sinned against the divine 
Burkhans of the hosts (of the Messenger God 3 ) and against the merit- 
attaining pure Elect. If although we have called them the true 
and divine Burkhans and the well-doing and pure Elect, we have not 
believed on them. If although we have uttered the word of God, 
we have through folly acted against it and not performed it [?], 
If instead of spreading the decrees and commandments, we have 
impeded them. my God, we now repent and to cleanse ourselves 
from sin, we pray: Mandstdr Mrzd ! (Our sin remit !)" 

Sect. V. "If we have wandered into sin against the five kinds of 
animated beings, that is to say, First, against two-footed man; 
Secondly, against the four-footed animals; Thirdly, against the 
flying animals ; Fourthly, against the animals in the water ; Fifthly, 
against the animals upon earth which creep on their bellies. my 
God, if in our sin against these five kinds of animated and moving 

1 Obvicmsly the authors of the ETwa&tuamft knew nothing of the 
doctrine put forth by the Manichaeans in Christian lands that the First 
Man offered himself as a sacrifice to destroy the sons of Darkness. Cf ; 
n. 2, p. 294 supra,. 

2 Because by so doing the existence of the diabolic creation would be 

3 The words "of the Messenger" [God] are not in Prof, von Le Coq's 

L. n. 22 

338 Manes and the Manichaeans [on. 

beings from tlie great to the small, we have beaten and wounded, 
abused, and injured, and pained, or even put them to death. If 
thus we have become the tormentors of so many animated and 
moving beings. my God, to cleanse ourselves from sin, so pray 
we now : Mandstdr Hrzd I (Our sin remit !) " 

It will be seen that in these first five sections or clauses of 
the Confession, we have a confirmation in all essential points of 
the version of the faith taught by Manes as it has been preserved 
for us by the Mahommedan authors quoted above. It is even 
possible that it was from this source that the author of the 
Fihrist and Al-Biruni derived some of their information con- 
cerning the Manichaeans, and although it is impossible as yet 
to fix any date for the Confession except within very wide 
limits, it may be said that it is probably earlier than either of 
the Mahommedan writers. It is certainly earlier than 1035 
A.D., the date at which the grotto at Tun-huang in which one 
of the copies was bricked up 1 . But it seems plain that it must 
have long before been used in the Manichaean worship from the 
fact that copies differing little, if at all, from each other have 
been found in two different scripts. As two of these are in the 
Turkish language, it seems likely that they were translated for 
proselytizing purposes into this from the earlier Syriac version 
shortly after the conquest of the Tou-Mue or Turks by the 
Ouigouxs, which some authors put as far back as the vnth 
century A.B. 2 The tenets of the Manichaeans must have been 
well settled for this to be possible, and we have here, therefore, 
an account at first hand of Manichaean teaching at a date much 
earlier than the Mahommedan authors quoted above, and first 
reduced to writing between the earliest promulgation of Manes' 
own teaching and the Mahommedan conquest of Persia. It is, 
therefore, contemporary, or nearly so, with the period of activity 

1 Of . Chavannes et Pelliot, op. cit. I 6re ptie, pp. 503, n, 1. On this being 
mentioned in a paper in the J.R.A.S. 1913, Dr F. Denison Boss said 
that he thought the date should be put 300 years later, J. cit. p. 81. He 
has since withdrawn this (J.R.A.S. 1913, pp. 434-436), 

2 See the luminous historical study by M. Henri Cordier, "Les 
en Asie Cente^" Jowmal des Swvcwte, Paris, 1910, pp. 219 $##., especially 
pp. 249, 250. 

xm] Manes and the Maniehaeans 339 

of the Zoroastrianism revived by the Sassanides, and it is 
interesting to find how much nearer in appearance to the 
cosmology and theology of the Avesta are those of the Khuas- 
tuanift than is the Christianized form of Manichaeism intro- 
duced into Europe and Africa and combated by St Augustine. 
Khormuzta, the First Man, is certainly Ahura Mazda, Oromazes, 
or Ormuzd, while the Fivefold God here spoken of as the 
"youth" is clearly to be identified with his five sons or the 
armour left below on his defeat 1 . Hence it is probable that 
the Maniehaeans in Upper Asia did not wish to appear as the 
worshippers of any other deities than those of the Persian 
nation 2 , although where Christianity was the religion of the 
State, they were willing to call these deities by other names 3 . 
Yet the dualism which is the real characteristic of the faith of 
Manes here as elsewhere admits of no compromise, and the sin 
against which the Section II is directed is plainly that 
Zervanist heresy which would make Zervan aJcerene or Boundless 
Time the author of all things, and Ormuzd and Ahriman alike 
his sons. The part played by the Sun and Moon in the redemp- 
tion of the Light is here the same as that assigned to them in 
both the Christian and the Mahommedan accounts of Manes' 
own teaching, but nothing is here said of the wheel which 
appears in the former 4 . The Divine "Burkhans" mentioned 
in Section III are, as we shall see later, the Divine Messengers 
sent from time to time into the present world to assist in the 
redemption of the Light. The sinfulness of feeding upon, 
injuring, or even angering the lower animals is here much more 
strongly insisted upon than in the other documents and 

1 Chavannes et Pelliot, op. cit. l fere ptie, p. 513, n. 1. Miiller, Hand- 
schriften-Reste, pp. 20, 22. Von Le Coq, J.R.A.S. 1911, p. 301. 

2 Ormuzd, "the whole circuit of the sky," although he calls him, more 
Graecorum, Zens, "the snn and moon, the earth, fire, water and the winds, " 
were "the only gods whose worship had come down to the Persians from 
ancient times" in the days of Herodotus. Cf. Herodotus, Bk i. c. 131. 

3 Paustus (Aug. v. Faust. Bk n. c. 4) distinctly says "Jesus Christ is 
the son of the First Man. " Cf. also c. 5. 

4 It is very doubtful whether it is referred to or not in the Tun-huang 
treatise. Cf. Chavannes et Pelliot, op. cit. l fere ptie, pp. 515, n. 2, and 
p. 516, n. 3. 


340 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

demands repentance even in the case of the Hearers, and this 
points directly to a closer connection with Buddhism than 
hitherto has been thought possible. It is plainly opposed to 
the later Zoroastrian teaching, which makes the killing of 
certain animals belonging to the creation of Ahriman a religious 
duty; and may therefore have only been adopted by the 
Manichaeans when they found themselves in contact with a 
large community of professed Buddhists. 

The next five sections of the Khuastuanift run thus : 

Sect. VL- "If, my God, we have wandered into sin, and have 
committed the ten kinds of sin in thoughts, words, and deeds. If 
we have made up fraudulent lies ; if we have sworn false oaths ; 
if we have borne false witness ; if we have treated as guilty guiltless 
men ; if by fetching and carrying tales we have set men at variance, 
and thereby have perverted their minds; if we have practised 
magic ; if we have killed many animated and moving beings ; if we 
have given way to wanton pleasures; if we have wasted the hard- 
earned gains of industrious men ; if we have sinned against the God 
of the Sun and Moon 1 . If in our past and present lives since we 
have become Manichaeans [i.e. Hearers] we have sinned and gone 
astray, thereby bringing confusion and discord upon so many 
animated beings, my God, to cleanse ourselves from sin, so pray 
we now, Mandstdr Mrzdf (Our sin remit!)" 

Sect. VII. " Who is he who wandering in sin comes to the entry 
of the two poison-laden ways, and to the road wMch leads astray to 
the Gate of Hell ? The first is he who holds to false doctrines ; the 
second is he who invokes the Demon as God and falls down before 
him. my God, if wandering in sin, we have failed to recognize 
and understand the true God and his pure faith, and have not believed 
what the Burkhans and the pure Elect have preached 2 , and have 
instead believed on those who preach falsely, saying 'I preach the 
trae God, and I expound the faith rightly/ If we have accepted 
the words of such a one and have unwittingly kept wrongful fasts, 
and have unwittingly bowed ourselves wrongfully, and wrongfully 

1 The Power whom Fanstus (Aug. c. Faust. Bk xx. c. 2) calls "God 
the Son." 

2 Evidently the incarnate or human messengers, Zoroaster, Buddha* 
Jesus, and Manes. The heavenly "legates" are never depicted as "preach- 
ing" to mesn. 

xm] Manes and the Manichaeans 341 

given alms; or if we have said 'We will acquire merit' and thereby 
have unwittingly committed evil deeds ; or if, invoking the Demon 
and the Fiend as God, we have sacrificed to them animated and 
moving beings; or if, saying, 'this is the precept of the Burkhan,' 
we have put ourselves under a false law and have bowed ourselves, 
blessing it. If, thus sinning against God, we have prayed to the 
Demon. my God, to cleanse ourselves from sin, so pray we now: 
Mandstdr Mrzd / (Our sin remit!)" 

Sect. VIII. " When we came to the knowledge of the true God 
and the pure Law, we knew the Two Principles and the Law of the 
Three Ages 1 . The Light Principle we knew to be the Paradise of 
God and the Dark Principle to be the Land of Hell, We knew what 
existed before Heaven and Earth, the Earth of God, was. We 
knew how God and the Demon fought with one another, and how 
Light and Darkness became mingled together, and how Heaven and 
Earth were created. We knew how the Earth of the Rulers and its 
Heaven will disappear, and how the Light will be freed from the 
Darkness, and what will then happen to all things. We believed in 
and put our faith in the God Azrua, in the God of the Sun and Moon, 
in the Mighty God 2 , and in the Burkhans, and thus we became 
Hearers. Four bright seals have we carved upon our hearts. One is 
Love which is the seal of the God Azrua 3 ; the second is Faith, which 
is the seal of the God of the Sun and Moon ; the third is the Fear 
of God which is the seal of the Fivefold God; and the fourth is 
the wise Wisdom, which is the seal of the Burkhans. If, my God, 
we have turned away our spirits and minds from these four (categories 
of) Gods ; if we have spurned them from their rightful place, and 
the Divine Seals have thus been broken, my God, to cleanse our- 
selves from sin, so pray we now : Mandstdr Hrzd 1 (Our sin remit !) " 

Sect. IX. "In the Ten Commandments, we have been ordered 
to keep three with the mouth, three with the heart, three with the 
hand, and one with the whole self. If, my God, we have wittingly 
or unwittingly by cleaving to the love of the body, or by listening 

1 The Past, Present and Future, called the c ' Three Moments " in the Tun- 
httang treatise. See Chavannes et Pelliot, op. tit. ll me ptie, pp. 114, 116. 

2 Probably the strong or mighty Srosh or T&rtius Legatus. 

3 This may be compared to the Ophite Diagram in which Agape or 
Love is made the summit of the Pantheon. See Chap. VHI p. 68 supra. 
See also the same dogma in Valentines, Chap. IX p. 123 supra. 

342 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

to the words of wicked companions and friends, of associates and 
fellows; or by reason of our having much cattle and other posses- 
sions ; or by our foolish attachment to the things of this world, we 
have broken these ten commandments, and have been found wanting 
and of no avail : my God, to cleanse ourselves from sin, so pray 
we now : Mandstdr Mrzd I (Our sin remit !) " 

Sect. X. "We have been ordered to render every day, with a 
whole mind and a pure heart, four praises to the God Azrua, to the 
God of the Sun and Moon, to the Mighty God, and to the Burkhans. 
If from lack of the fear of God or from slackness our praises have 
been offered unseemly, or if in offering them we have not turned our 
hearts and minds towards God, so that our praises and prayers have 
not reached God in pure wise, but have remained in another place : 
my God, to cleanse ourselves from sin, so pray we now : Mandstdr 
Urzd ! (Our sin remit I) " 

This second part of the Confession, perhaps, deals with 
errors of conduct as the first does with errors of belief. The 
ten sins given in the Vlth Section do not agree exactly with 
the list given in the Fihrist which says that the Manichaean 
Hearers were enjoined to abstain from prayers offered to idols, 
from lying, from greed, from murder, adultery, theft, from 
false teaching, from magic, from doubt in religion, and from 
slackness in action 1 ; but perhaps all these prohibitions could 
be read into the list in the Khuastuanift. The Vllth Section 
seems to be directed not so much against other religions as 
against schisms within the Manichaean Church 2 , and it is 
evident that its authors knew of bloody sacrifices offered to 
the Powers of Darkness as described by Plutarch apart from 
the magic or sorcery condemned in the preceding section. In 
the Vlllth Section, we have also for the second time a new name 
for God in the word Azrua, which Prof, von Le Coq leaves 
unexplained ; but which M. Gauthiot considers to be the same 
as, or rather the equivalent in Soghdian of Zervan 3 . Zervan, 
however, can hardly be here the Supreme God worshipped by 
Yezdegerd, especially as the KJiuastuanift has just, as we have 

1 FMgel, op. o& pp. 95, 96. 

* A$ to these, see En Hadfon in Miigel, op. tit. pp. 97-100. 

* Ohavaaoaes efe PelEot, op. c&. l^ 6 ptie, p. 543, n> 2. 

xm] Manes and the Manidiaeans 343 

seen, formally condemned as blasphemers those who say that 
Ormuzd and Ahriman are brethren, and therefore by implication 
those who give both Powers Zervan for a father. It seems 
more likely that the name is either a corruption of Ahura Mazda 
or perhaps of the Sanskrit Asura ; but in any event, there can 
be no doubt that it denotes the King of the Paradise of Light, 
as the Highest Good God is called in the Fihrist. The division 
of the Ten Commandments of Manes into three of the mouth, 
three of the hand, three of the heart, and one of the whole 
being recalls St Augustine's description of the threes eals, 
the signaculum oris, signaculum manus, and signaculum sinus, 
observed by the Manichaeans 1 ; while the description in Section 
X of the four praises (or hymns) to be rendered daily bears 
out what is said above as to the praises of man being of 
importance for the actual redemption of the Light. 
The remaining sections of the Khuastuanifi are : 

Sect. XL " We have been ordered to give reverently seven kinds 
of alms for the sake of the pure Law. It has also been ordered that 
when the angels of the Light of the Five Gods and the two Appellant 
and Respondent Gods bring to us the Light of the Five Gods which 
is to go to the Gods to be purified, we should in all things order 
ourselves [or, "dress ourselves," according to Le Coq] according to 
the Law. If, through necessity or because of our foolishness, we 
have not given the seven kinds of alms according to the Law, but 
have bound the Light of the Five Gods, which should go to the Gods 
to be purified, in our houses and dwellings, or if we should have 
given it to evil men or to evil animals, and have thereby wasted it 
and sent it to the Land of Evil, my God, to cleanse ourselves from 
sin, so pray we now r Manastdr Mrzd ! (Our sin remit 1) " 

Sect. XII, "We have been ordered to keep every year 50 days 
of Vusanti 2 after the manner of the pure Elect, and thereon [?] to 

1 Augustine, de Moribiis Manichaeorum, c. s. Cf . Baur, Die Mamcka- 
ische Rdigionssystem, pp. 24=8 sqq. et Pelliot, op. cit. P re ptie, 
p. 547, n. 1, examine the question whether these are borrowed from 
Buddhism as F. W. K. Muller and Cumont assert, and incline to the view 
that Manes took them from Zoroastrianism. 

2 The word vusanti does not seem to be explained by Prof, von Le Coq. 
Has it any connection with the Sanskrit vasanta "spring" ? In that case, 

344 Manes and the ManicJiaeans [OH. 

please God by observing pure fasts. If, by reason of the care of 
our houses and dwellings or of our cattle and other possessions ; or 
by reason of our need and poverty [foolish attachments, apud Le 
Coq] ; or because of the greedy and shameless Demon of Envy ; or 
of our irreverent hearts, we have broken the fast, either wittingly or 
by foolishness ; or having begun it have not fasted according to the 
Kite and the Law. my God, to cleanse ourselves from sin, so 
pray we now : Mandstdr Jtirzd ! (Our sin remit !) " 

Sect. XIII. "We have been ordered to pray every Full Moon 
[literally, every day of the Moon-God], to acknowledge before God, 
the Law, and the pure Elect, our sins and transgressions in prayer 
for the cleansing of ourselves from sin. If now wittingly, or by 
feebleness of mind, or from idleness of body, or because our minds 
were set on the cares and business of this world, we have not thus 
gone to prayer for the cleansing of ourselves from sin. my God, 
to cleanse ourselves from sin, so pray we now : Mandstdr Mrzd ! 
(Our sin remit!)" 

Sect. XIV. " We have been ordered to keep each year seven 
YimW- [Days of Atonement?] and one month's rigid fast [?]. We 
have also been ordered when meeting together in the House of Prayer 
to keep the Yimki and to observe the fast, to acknowledge in prayer 
with a whole mind to the Divine Burkhans the sins which we have 
committed during the year and which we know through our senses. 
my God, if we have not kept the Yimki seemly; if we have not 
observed the month's rigid fast perfectly and seemly; if we have 
failed to acknowledge in prayer the sins of the year which we know 
through our senses, and have thus failed in so many of our duties. 

the 50 days fast may have been continuous like the Christian Lent and 
the Mahommedan Ramadan. But it seems more likely that it refers to 
the weekly fast on Sunday which, the Fihrist notwithstanding, seems to 
have been incumbent on all the Manichaeans, Elect and Hearers alike. 
So Chavannes et Pelliot, op. cit. 2 me ptie, p. Ill, n. 2. See n. 4, p. 349 infra. 
1 Prof, von Le Coq says (J.E.A.S. 1911, p. 307) that this word is as 
yet unexplained and may belong to another language than Turkish. One 
is almost tempted to see in it a corruption of the Yom Kippur or Bay of 
Atonement of the Jews. Judaism is the last religion from which the 
Maniahaeans would have consciously borrowed; but the Jews have 
always taken their goods where they found them, and it may well be that 
both Jews and Maniehaeans were here drawing from a common source. 

xm] Manes and the Manichaeans 345 

O my God, to cleanse ourselves from sin, so pray we now : Mandstdr 
Mrzd ! (Our sins remit !) " 

Sect. XV. ' ' How many evil thoughts do we not think every day ! 
How many deceitful and unseemly words do we not speak ! How 
many unseemly deeds do we not do ! Thus do we prepare torments 
for ourselves by crimes and frauds. Since we have walked body and 
soul in the love of the greedy and shameless Demon of Envy, and 
the Light of the Five Gods which we absorb in our food every day 
thereby goes to the Land of Evil. Wherefore, my God, to cleanse 
ourselves from sin, so pray we now: Mandstdr Mrzdf (Our sins 

Here follows a lacuna of four lines, after which the Confession 
resumes : 

"0 my God. "We are full of defects and sins! We are thine 
adversaries and grieve thee by thoughts, words and deeds, for the 
sake of the greedy and shameless Demon of Envy. Gazing with our 
eyes, hearing with our ears, seizing with our hands, and trampling 
with our feet, we ever torture and impede the Light of the Five Gods, 
the dry and wet earth, the five kinds of animals, and the five kinds 
of plants and trees. So full are we of defects and sins ! On account 
of the Ten Commandments, the seven kinds of Alms, the three seals, 
we are called Hearers ; yet we cannot perform what these claim of 
us. If, wandering in sin, we have sinned against the Gods of Light, 
against the pure Law, against the Herald God 1 and the Preacher, the 
Men of God [the Preachers, according to Le Coq], against the 
pure Elect. If we have not walked according to the letter and spirit 
of the spoken words of God. If we have grieved the hearts of the 
Gods. If we have been unable to keep the Days of Atonement, the 
rigid fast, to offer the Praises and the Blessings according to the 
Law and the Bite. If we have been found lacking and unprofitable, 
and have day by day and month by month committed sins and 
trespasses to the Gods of Light, to the Majesty of the Law, to the 
pure Elect, to cleanse ourselves from sin, so pray we now : Mandstdr 
Mrzd ! (Our sin remit !) " 

These last five sections of the Khuastuanift give us a glimpse 
of the religious observances of the Manichaeans which, alters 
somewhat the picture of them which we should have formed from 

1 Is this the Tertius Legatus or another ? 

346 Manes and the Manichaeans [CH. 

the account of St Augustine and other Christian writers. The 
seven kinds of alms referred to in Section XI, are not, as 
might be thought, the gifts to necessitous or helpless persons 
prescribed alike by the Christian and the Mahommedan 
religions. It is apparent both from the context and from other 
sources of information that they are the offerings of food made 
by the lay or lowest members of the Manichaean community 
to the Elect or Perfect, who are spoken of in the subsequent 
sections as being already a species of Gods. This practice was 
certainly known to St Augustine, and was not likely to sink 
into oblivion in a community in contact with Buddhists, 
among whom monks living upon food given in alms by the 
faithful were a common sight. But the reason assigned by 
St Augustine for the practice, which was before obscure, here 
receives full explanation. The particles of light diffused 
through matter, and therefore inhabiting the bodies of animals 
and plants, could only, in Manichaean opinion, be set free by 
passing into the bodies of the semi-divine Elect. Thus says 
St Augustine in his treatise against the Manichaean Perfect, 
Faustus 1 : 

"This foolish notion of making your disciples bring you food, that 
your teeth and stomach may be the means of relieving Christ who 
is bound up in it, is a consequence of your profane fancies. You 
declare that Christ is liberated in this way not, however, entirely ; 
for you hold that some tiny particles of no value still remain in the 
excrement, to be mixed up and compounded again in various 
material forms, and to be released and purified at any rate by the 
fire in which the world will be burned up, if not before." 

With the substitution of the "Light of the Fivefold God" for 
Christ the use of this last name being probably either the gloss 
of St Augustine himself, or else the concession made by the 
Manichaean missionaries after their manner to the religious 
prepossessions of those among whom they hoped to gain 
converts we have here the doctrine more plainly stated in 
the Khuastuanift. The Hearers are to labour perpetually, 
idleness being one of the Manichaean deadly sins, and to present 

1 Augustine, c. Fcmst. Bk n. c 5. Cf. Chavannes et Pelliot, op. cit. 
l fere ptie, p. 5a^ aM B. 1. 

xm] Manes and the Manichaeans 347 

the fruits of their labour in the shape of food to the Perfect. 
Not only will the particles of Light imprisoned in this last thus 
be conveyed to the Land of the Gods ; but it will be prevented 
from going to the Land of Evil, which irfc would do if it were 
consumed by the bodies of the Hearers or, a fortiori, of those 
profane persons who "belonged to other faiths than the Mani- 
chaean. Thus is explained the inhumanity of which many 
writers accuse the Manichaean community, which led them to 
refuse food to their neighbours in time of famine, alleging that 
all that they produced must be reserved for those of the Faith 1 . 
This explains also the merit assigned to the observance of 
the many fasts enjoined in the concluding sections of the 
Kkuastuanift. The fifty Vusanti fasts together with the month's 
rigid fast to be kept by the Hearers would all have the effect of 
diminishing their consumption of food in the shape of animals 
and plants, which hinders the liberation of the particles of 
Light imprisoned therein. In the choice of the days set apart 
for these fasts we see another instance of the Manichaean 
practice as assimilating the outward observances of other 
religions. The fifty Vusanti fasts would give an average of very 
nearly one a week, and were probably kept on Sunday, the 
distinction between the Elect and the Hearers in this respect 
noted by the Mahommedan writer being probably due to some 
misconception. The month's rigid fast possibly accorded with 
the Arab Eamadan and must have been very useful in prevent- 
ing the Hearers from appearing singular when among Mahom- 
medans ; and the seven YimJci or Days of Atonement seem to 
have been copied from the observances of the Jews. So 
possibly was the ritual practice alluded to in the XlVth section 
of meeting together at certain times to confess their sins, and as 
this is here said to take place in the House of Prayer, it entirely 
disposes of the theory set up by earlier writers that the Mani- 
chaeans had no temples, synagogues, or churches of their own 2 . 
The confession and prayer enjoined in Section XIII were 
doubtless to be repeated privately and in whatever place the 

1 Chavannes et Pelliot, op. tit. l fere ptie, p. 573, n. 3. 

2 So Baur, op. tit. This was doubtless true in the West and in lands 
where they were exposed to severe persecution. 

348 Manes and the Maniehaeans [OH. 

Hearer found himself at the fortnightly periods there specified, 
and this Litany was very probably the Khuastuanifi itself 1 . 

What other ritual was performed in these Manichaean 
meeting-places is still doubtful. The Christian writers declare 
that the Maniehaeans celebrated a sacrament resembling the 
Eucharist with the horrible accompaniments before alluded to 
in the case of the followers of Simon Magus 2 . The same 
accusation was made, as has been many times said above, by 
nearly all the sects of the period against each other, and we 
have no means of determining its truth. It is however fairly 
certain from the silence observed on the subject by the 
Khuastuanifi that no sacramental feast of any kind was either 
celebrated by or in the presence of the Hearers or general body 
of Maniehaeans. If the Perfect or Elect partook of any such 
meal among themselves, it possibly consisted of bread and water 
only and was probably a survival of some custom traditional in 
Western Asia of which we have already seen the traces in the 
Mysteries of Mithras 3 . The pronounced Docetism which led 
the Maniehaeans to regard the body of the historical Jesus as a 
phantom shows that they could not have attributed to this meal 
any sacramental efficacy like that involved in the doctrines either 
of the Real Presence or of the Atonement. 

The case is different with regard to pictures. The Mani- 
ehaeans forbade the use of statues or probably of any represen- 
tations of the higher spiritual powers, no doubt in recollection 
of the idea current among the Persians even in Herodotus' time, 

1 This explains its translation from its original Pahlayi into the language 
of the converts and each copy bearing the name of the owner. 

2 See Cumont, Cosmog. Manich. p. 56, for authorities. Cf. also de 
Stoop, op. tit p. 22. As has been many times said above, every religion 
and sect at the time accused the others of these filthy practices, without 
our being able to discern any proof of the justice of the accusation in one 
case more than in another. In any case, St Augustine, here the chief 
authority, could not have known of it at first hand, as he had never been 
more than a Hearer, and he himself says (contra Fortunatum, Bk i. App.) 
that while he had heard that the Elect celebrated the Eucharist, he knew 
nothing of the mode of celebration. Cf. Neander, C7i* Hist. n. p. 193. 

* AM contemporary authorities are agreed that they were forbidden to 
drink wine* 

xm] Manes and the Manichaeans 349 

that the gods had not the nature of men. Yet the Jewish and 
later the Mahommedan prohibition against making likenesses of 
anything had evidently no weight with them, and even before 
the recent discoveries there was a tradition that Manes himself 
was in the habit of using symbolical pictures called Ertenki- 
Mani as a means of propaganda 1 . The truth of this is now 
amply confirmed by the German discoveries at Turfan, where 
Prof, von Le Coq found frescoes representing possibly Manes 
himself, together with paintings on silk showing the souls of 
the faithful dead in the Moon-ship 2 . Sir Marc Stein seems to 
have secured similar relics at Tun-huang, and when these are 
more thoroughly examined it is possible that they may throw 
light upon many points of Manichaean symbolism yet obscure 
to us. The fact that the Manichaean meeting-houses were 
decorated with symbolical pictures seems thereby already 

Of their fasts, the principal ones have been already indicated 
in the KJiuastuanift, and their feasts seem to have been few, 
almost the only one of which any mention has come down to 
us being that which was called the Festival of the Bema or 
pulpit, when an empty chair on five steps was placed in a 
conspicuous position in the meeting-house and adored by all 
present. This was said to have been done in commemoration 
of Manes as their founder and on the date preserved as the 
anniversary of his death 3 . If it be really true that any Manich- 
aeans whether Hearers or otherwise kept Sunday as a holiday, 
it must have been, as Neander suggests, not because it was 
the day of the Resurrection, in which their Docetic doctrines 
prevented them from believing, but as the day of the Sun. 
In like manner they probably observed Christmas as the 
birthday not of Jesus, but of the Sun-god in accordance 
with the traditions preserved by the worshippers of Mithras 4 . 

1 Neander, op. cit. n. p. 170. 

2 Le Coq, CTiotscho, Vol. I. PL i. and iv. 
8 Aug. c. Ep. Fundamenti, c. 8. 

4 Augustine, c. Faust. Bk xvm. c. 5, whom lie quotes, does not say 
however that they kept Sunday as a festival, but merely that they then 
worshipped the Sun: 7os in die, quern dicunt solis, solem colitis. 

350 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

St Augustine speaks, too, of their keeping Easter 1 . It seems 
possible that this was only done in Christian countries, in 
accordance with their usual custom of conforming in outward 
matters, and we have no evidence of their doing anything of 
the sort in Turkestan. 

Of the sacred books of the Manichaeans we hear much, 
although only one has survived to us in anything like com- 
pleteness. Thus we hear from Al-Biruni that the Manichaeans 
have a gospel of their own "the contents of which from the 
first to the last are opposed to the doctrine of the Christians," 
and this he says was called "the Gospel of the Seventy 2 ." He 
also tells us of a book written by Manes himself called Shaburlcan 
or Shapurakhan which was doubtless written for the edification 
of King Shapur or Sapor, the son of Ardeshir, whose name it 
bears 3 . In this Manes seems to have described his own birth 
and his assumption of the office of heavenly messenger or 
"Burkhan," besides the saying as to the Burkhans before him, 
Zoroaster, Buddha, and Jesus, as described above 4 . We also 
hear from Al-Biruni that he wrote a gospel arranged according 
to the 22 letters of the alphabet, which does not seem to be 
the same as the Gospel of the Seventy 5 , and we hear from other 
sources of a Book of the Giants, a Book of Secrets, a Book of 
Precepts, a Book of Lifegiving, and others, together with many 
letters or epistles all supposed to be by Manes' own hand 6 . As 
has been said, he and his followers rejected the Old Testament 
entirely, not indeed denying its inspiration, but declaring this 
to have come from the Evil Principle. Of the New Testament, 
Faustus, the Manichaean Perfect who disputed with St Augus- 
tine, puts the matter very clearly when he says : 
"We receive only so much of the JSTew Testament as says anything 
to the honour of the Son of Glory, either by Himself or by His 
apostles ; and by the latter only after they had become perfect and 

1 Aug. c. Ep. FuTidamenti, c. 8 and de Stoop, op. cit. p. 27. 

2 Al-Biruni, Chronology, p. 27. 3 Ib. pp. 121,* 190. 

4 A few other undoubted extracts from the Shapurakhan are to be 
found in Muller, Handschriften-Reste, passim, and others quoted at second 
hand from Mahommedan writers in Kessler, op. cit., as to which see ib. 
pp. 18Q-19L 

5 Al-Birun% op. c&. p, 225. e See Kessler, op. tit. p. 191 sgq. 

xnr] Manes and the Manichaeans 351 

believers. As for the rest, anything that was said by them either in 
their simplicity and ignorance, while they were yet inexperienced in 
the truth, or with malicious design was inserted by the enemy 
among the statements of truth, or was incautiously asserted by other 
writers and thus handed down to later generations of all this we 
desire to know nothing. I mean all such statements as these that 
He was shamefully born of a woman ; that as a Jew He was circum- 
cised; that He offered sacrifices like a heathen; that He was meanly 
baptized, led into the wilderness, and miserably tempted 1 ." 

Thus it seems that the Manichaeans accepted only such facts 

of the Gospel narrative as did not conflict with their own 

doctrines, and although they are said to have had an especial 

veneration for St Paul, there is no reason to think that this 

extended to the writings of the Apostle to the Gentiles, or had 

any other motive than that of external conformity with the 

religion of those whom they were endeavouring to convert. As 

himself the Paraclete announced in the New Testament, Manes 

claimed for himself an authority superior to that of all apostles, 

and if he made use of any of the writings attributed to them, 

it was probably only in the shape of isolated passages divorced 

from their context. On the other hand, his followers seem to 

have made free use of apocryphal or pseudepigraphical books 

written in the names of the apostles and containing statements 

which could be explained as confirming Manes 5 teaching. A 

great number of these had as their common authors the names 

of St Thomas and St Andrew, and the Fathers declare that 

they were for the most part the work of one Leucius, whom 

they assert was a Manichaean 2 . It may be so ; but, as all the 

copies of these works which have come down to us have been 

expurgated or, in the language of the time, "made orthodox," 

by the removal of heretical matter, there is little proof of the 


More authentic, however, than these pseudepigrapha and 
much fuller than the extracts preserved by Christian or Mahom- 

1 Aug. c. Faust. Bk xxxn. c. 7. 

2 See Albert Dufourcq, De Manichaeismo apud Latinos, Paris, 1900, 
where all these apocrypha are carefully examined. The Quo vadis story 
appears on p. 40. 

352 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

medan writers is a treatise found in the cave of the Thousand 
Buddhas at Tun-huang which has been published only last 
year. It seems by an extraordinary chance to have nearly 
escaped us, having been apparently missed by all the European 
expeditions because it was written in Chinese characters. 
Hence it was removed to Pekin by orders of the Chinese 
Government under the impression that it was Buddhist in its 
nature, and has since been published in a Chinese publication 
founded for the purpose of preserving the Tun-huang MSS. by 
Mr Lo Tchen-yu, a Chinese scholar of great philosophical and 
archaeological attainments 1 . It is written on a continuous roll 
of paper over six metres in length, which has led unfortunately 
to the disappearance of the title and the first few words of the 
treatise. The remainder shows, however, that it purports to 
be a sort of allocution addressed by Manes, here as in the 
Khua&tuanift called the "Legate of the Light, 5 ' to Adda or 
Addas 3 whom we know from the Christian documents before 
quoted to have been one of the three great missionaries said to 
have been dispatched by Manes into foreign countries to 
propagate his doctrine 2 . Of these three, Thomas, Hermas, and 
Addas, the last-named is said to have been allotted " Scythia," 
which here as elsewhere doubtless means Turkestan, and his 
name therefore gives a reasonable air of authenticity to the 
text. The whole document is written in the form of a Buddhist 
sutra, and has been translated with an excellent commentary 
by the French Sinologist, M. Edouard Chavannes, with the help 
of M. Paul PeUiot, the leader of the French Expedition to 
Turkestan which probably first discovered it 3 . It entirely 
confirms the Mahommedan account of the teaching of Manes 
given above as well as that appearing in the Khuastuanift, and 
shows that St Augustine, alike in his authentic writings and in 
the tract de Haere$ibu-$ generally, although perhaps wrongfully, 
attributed to him, was drawing from well-informed sources. 
There are many grounds for thinking that it may originally 
have been written in Pahlavi, in which case it may have been 

1 Chavamtes et Pelliot, op. tit. p. 508, and ru 1. 

2 Hegemonius, Acto, a xm. p. 22, Beeson. 

3 OiAvannes et PeMiot, op. tit. I&* ptie, pp. $99, 400. 

xm] Manes and the Manichaeans 353 

contemporary with. Manes himself; but it frequently makes use 
of Buddhist phrases often derived from the Sanskrit 1 . If the 
view here taken of the date of the original treatise is well 
founded, these may have been introduced by Manes during the 
time that the tradition mentioned above says that he spent in 
Turkestan for the elaboration of his doctrine. At all events 
they show that the practice of adapting his religion, as far as 
might be, to accord with that previously held by those among 
whom he was trying to make proselytes, goes back to the very 
origin of the sect. 

This treatise was evidently written for edification rather than 
for instruction, and gives us a curious idea of the imagery by 
which the Manichaean teachers sought to enforce their teaching. 
The theory of the macrocosm and the microcosm, which 
that the body of man is in itself a copy of the great world or 
universe, is here carried to excess 2 , and we hear much of the 
<e trees" which, certain demons, previously sticking to the 
elements, says the treatise, "like a fly to honey, a bird to bird- 
lime, or a fish, to the hook 3 ," plant in the soul to the corruption 
and ultimate death of the better desires there implanted by 
the Light. The combat waged against the diabolic vices by 
the virtues is also described with great minuteness, but in 
language in which it is sometimes difficult to discover whether 
the author is consciously using allegory or not. Thus he says 
that the Devil, to whom he attributes the formation of the 
body of man, " shut up tlie Pure Ether *' (one of the five light 

"in the city of the bones. He established (there) the dark thought 
in which, he planted a tree of death. Then he shut up the Excellent 

1 Op. tit. I 6re ptie, pp. 509, n. 5, 510, n. 2, 533, nn. 2 and 4. 

2 Nowhere is tHs curious theory, which forms the base of most Mediaeval 
Cabala and magic, more clearly stated. Thus the Tun-huang treatise says 
in describing the fashioning of the body of man by the devils (as in the 
Mepos- TVX&V ScoTT/po?), "there is not a single formation of the universe 
(or cosmos) which they did not imitate in the carnal body*' (Chavannes 
et Pelliot, op. tit. l fere ptie, p. 527) ; and in the next page "The demon. . . 
shut up the five natures of Light in the carnal body of which he made a 
little universe (microcosm).** 

8 Chavannes et Pelliot, op. cit. l fere ptie, p. 514. 
L. n. 23 

354 Manes and the Manichaeans [OH. 

Wind in the city of the nerves. He established (there) the dark 
feeling in which he planted a tree of death. Then he shut up the 
strength of the Light in the city of the veins. He established (there) 
the dark reflection in which he planted a tree of death. Then he 
shut up the Excellent Water in the city of the flesh. He established 
there the dark intellect, in which he planted a tree of death. Then 
he shut up the Excellent Fire in the city of the skin. He established 
there the dark reasoning in which he planted a tree of death. The 
Demon of Envy [the name generally used in the treatise for the 
Devil] planted these five poisonous trees of death in the five kinds of 
ruined places. He made them on every occasion deceive and trouble 
the original luminous nature, to draw in from without the nature 
which is stranger to it, and to produce poisonous fruit. Thus the 
tree of the dark thought grows within the city of the bones; its 
fruit is hatred : the tree of the dark feeling grows within the city 
of the nerves ; its fruit is irritation : the tree of the dark reflection 
grows within the city of the veins ; its fruit is luxury [wantonness] : 
the tree of the dark intellect grows within the city of the flesh ; its 
fruit is anger : the tree of the dark reasoning grows within the city 
of the skin ; its fruit is folly. It is thus then that of the five kinds 
of things which are the bones, the nerves, the veins, the flesh, and 
the skin, he made a prison and shut up there the five divisions of the 
Erst Principle of Light. . . . 15J 

and so on. One might sometimes think one was reading John 
Bunyan and his Holy War with its defence of the town of 

Most of the information contained in this Pekin Treatise has 
fceen dealt with in its place, but there are one or two matters 
concerning the cosmology of Manes which are of importance as 
showing the connection of his system with that of his predeces- 
sors. One regards the two great angels, here called Khrostag 
and Padvaktag 2 or the Appellant and Respondent, who are 
mentioned in the Ehuastuanift (p. 343 supra) as bringing the 

1 Op. c&. pp. 528, 529. 

2 Their Chinese names are discussed by MM. Chavannes and Pelliot 
(op, cti. 1* ptie, pp. 521, n. 1, 542, n. 1, 543, nn. 1, 2, and 544, n. 1), 
-wherein are gathered nearly all that can be said about them. The learned 
commentators decade that their functions still remain mysterious. But 
see next note infre^ 

xin] Manes and the Maniehaeans 355 

light to be purified 1 . As lias been said above, they show a great 
likeness to the two last Amshaspands of Zoroastrianism called 
Haurvetat and Ameretat; and like them are never mentioned 
separately, but always together 2 . Another point, already 
referred to, is that the Zoroastrian Sraosha, the strong archangel 
who guards the world at night from the demons, is here men- 
tioned several times by name 3 . Yet another point is that the 
two sexes are here said to have been formed by the devil out of 
jealousy and rage at beholding the sun and moon, and in 
imitation of the two luminaries. This is an entirely different 
story not only from those given above as Manichaean but from 
that given in the Great Announcement attributed to Simon 
Magus, and both differ from that told in the Pistis Sophia. 
It seems plain therefore that in attributing these various origins 
to the division of mankind into sexes, none of the three teachers 
was drawing upon tradition, but was merely inventing ad hoc. 
There remains to be considered the history of the sect, as 
to which we have become better informed during the last few 
decades than at one time seemed possible 4 . Prohibited in the 
Roman Empire from the outset, they nevertheless made their 
way along both shores of the Mediterranean, and all the efforts 
of the Imperial authorities proved powerless to suppress them. 
Oonstantine directed an enquiry into their tenets, it is said, 
with some idea of making them into the religion of the State, 

1 W. Radloff, Chuastuanift, das Bussgebet der Manichaer, St Petersburg, 
1909, pt i. pp. 19, 20. Von Le Coq, J.R.A.S. 1911, p. 294: "when the 
Gods Kroshtag and Padwakhtag, the Appellant and Respondent, should 
have brought to us that part of the light of the Fivefold God that, going 
to God, is there to be purified." One is inclined to compare this with Jeu 
and Melchizidek receiving and purifying the light won from this world, or 
with Gabriel and Michael in the Pistis Sophia bearing the heroine upward 
out of Chaos ; but the parallel may be accidental and is easily pushed too 

2 Like the "Twin Saviours" of the Pistis Sophia, whose functions are 
never even alluded to in that document. 

3 See notes 2 and 3, p. 327 swpra. 

4 M. de Stoop's Essai sur la Diffusion du Manich&sme is most in- 
forming on this head. See also A. Dufourcq's Thesis quoted in n. 2, p. 351 
supra. A very brief summary of the history of the sect was given by the 
present writer in J.&A.S. 1913, pp. 69-94. 


356 Manes and the Maniehaeans [on. 

and although he found this impracticable or unsafe, he seems 
to have been at first inclined to extend to them toleration 1 . 
His successors, however, quickly reverted to the earlier policy 
of Diocletian, and law after law of gradually increasing severity 
was passed until adherence to Manichaeism was finally punished 
with death and confiscation 2 . Pagans like the Emperor Julian 
and his friend and teacher Libanius were able occasionally to 
intervene in their favour ; but no sect was ever more relentlessly 
persecuted, and the institution of the Dominican Inquisition 
can be traced back to the Quaestiones set up by Justinian and 
Theodora for their routing out and suppression 3 . In the case 
of what was practically a secret society, it would be difficult 
to say whether the Imperial measures would have availed to 
entirely destroy their propaganda, and it is possible that the 
Manichaean Church always maintained a sporadic existence in 
Europe 4 until events to be presently mentioned led to its revival 
in the xth century. Meanwhile in the East, they remained on 
the confines of what was, up to the Mahommedan conquest in 
642 A.D., the Persian Empire, and no doubt after their manner 
professed outward adherence to the Zoroastrian faith, while at 
the same time propagating their own doctrines in secret 5 . It 

1 For the enquiry by Strategins, afterwards called Musonianus, and 
Prefect of the East under Gonstantius, see Ammianus Marcellinus, Bk xv. 
c. 13. Of. Neander, Oh. Hist. rv. 488 sqq. That the persecution instituted 
against them by Diocletian slackened under Constantine and Constantius, 
see de Stoop, op. cit. pp. 40, 41. 

2 See the Laws of Theodosius and Valentinian II, quoted by de Stoop, 
op. cit. pp. 41, 42. 

3 Gibbon, Decline and Fall, m. p. 153. Justinian put to death not 
only convicted Maniehaeans, but those who being acquainted with members 
of the sect, did not denounce them. See de Stoop, op. cit. p. 43. 

4 The Maniehaeans seem always to have been favoured by the better 
classes and high officials of the Empire who maintained for some time a 
secret leaning towards Paganism. See de Stoop, op. cit. p. 84. The case 
of Barsymes, the banker or money-changer whom Theodora made Prae- 
torian Prefect, and who was allowed according to Procopius (Anecdote* 
e. x x 1 1 . 7) to profess Manichaeism openly, was doubtless only one of many. 
It is apparently this Barsymes who is invoked in the Turfan texts as "the 
Lord Bar Simus," see Miiller, HandAckriften-Meste, pp, 45, 59. 

5 lliat iitis was the professed policy of the sect seems plain from the 
words they attributed to Manes himself: "I am not inhuman Mfce Christ 

XHI] Manes and the Manichaeans 357 

was probably the Arab conquest which drove them to make 
their headquarters on the very borders of the civilized world 
as known to the ancients and in what is now Turkestan. Here 
a large part of the population seems to have been Buddhist, 
doubtless by reason of its dealings with China, and in the 
presence of that gentle faith whose adherents boast that they 
have never yet shed blood to make a convert the Manichaeans 
enjoyed complete toleration for perhaps the first time in their 
history 1 . They made use of it, as always, to send out mission- 
aries into the neighbouring countries, and certainly obtained 
a foothold in China, where the Chinese seem to have confused 
them with the Christians. Their hatred of images doubtless 
caused the iconoclastic Emperors of the East to enter into 
relation with them, and we hear that Leo the Isaurian induced 
many of them to enter the Imperial armies. It was possibly 
these last whom the Emperor John Tzimiskes settled in what 
is now Bulgaria, whence, under the names of Paulicians, 
Bogomiles, and other aliases, they promoted that movement 
against the Catholic Church which provoked the Albigensian 
Crusades and the establishment of the Dominican Inquisition 
in the West 2 . To follow them there would be to travel beyond 
the scope of this book ; and it need orJy be said in conclusion 
that they formed the bitterest and the most dangerous enemies 
that the Catholic Church in Europe ever had to face. It was 
possibly this which has led the rulers of the Church of Rome to 
brand nearly all later heresy with the name of Manichaean ; yet 
it may be doubted whether some of their doctrines did not 
survive in Europe until the German Reformation, when they 
may have helped to inspire some of the wilder Protestant sects 
of the xvith and xviith centuries. With the suppression of the 
Albigenses, however, the existence of Manichaeism as an 
organized faith comes to an end. 

who said : Whoso denieth me, hfm will I deny. I say unto yon : Whoso 
denieth me before man and saves himself by this falsehood, him will I 
receive with joy, as if he had not denied me." Of. de Stoop, op. tit. p. 46, 
quoting Cedrenus; Al Birunl, Chronology, p. 191. 

1 Von Le Coq, Exploration ArcMologique & Tourfan, Confces an MusSe 
Guimet (BibL de Vulg. t. xxxv.), 1910, p. 278. 

2 de Stoop, op. tit. pp. $6, 144. 


CONSTANTESTE'S accession proved to be, like the coming of 
Alexander, a turning-point in the history of the world. His 
so-called conversion put into the hands of the Catholic Church 
a weapon for the suppression of all rivalry, of which she was 
not slow to make use. Already in his reign many of the 
heathen temples were torn down 1 , and under the rule of his 
morose and gloomy successor, Constantius, the work of demoli- 
tion went on apace 2 . The accession of the philosophic Julian 
gave the worshippers of other gods than Christ a short respite, 
and even allowed some of the temples destroyed in the former 
reigns to be restored by or at the expense of the Christians 3 . 
Julian's heroic death in Persia again threw the crown into the 
hands of a Christian emperor, whose reign of seven months 
gave him little time, as he perhaps had small inclination, for 
persecution 4 ; but under his successors Valentinian and Valens, 
heathen sacrifices were forbidden under severe penalties. The 
end came under Gratian, when the temple estates were con- 
fiscated, the priests and vestals deprived of the stipends which 
they had hitherto received from the public treasury, and the 
heathen confraternities or colleges were declared incapable of 
receiving legacies 5 . Only a few rich men like the Vettius 
Agorius Praetextatus whom we have seen among the worshippers 
of Mithras, or the Quintus Aurelius Symmachus, whose learned 

1 Neander, CL Hist. m. pp. 34, 35. 

2 Op. ctt. in. p. 46. 

9 Sozomea, Hist. Mcd* Bk v. c. 5, for instances. Of. Neander, op. tit. 
UL pp. 66, 67. 

4 Neander, op. tit. HE. p. 96* 

8 Op. tit. EDL p; 100. 

Conclusion 359 

and patriotic life has been so well described by Sir Samuel 
Dill 1 , could henceforth venture to practise, even with, maimed 
rites, the faiths condemned by the Court and the Church. 

As for the Gnostic sects, which since Hadrian's time had 
striven with such success as we have seen to combine magic 
and other ancient beliefs with Christianity, they found but 
short shrift at the hands of the triumphant Church. By an 
edict issued by Constantine before his own reception into the 
Church, all their "houses of prayer" were confiscated for the 
benefit of the Catholic Church, their meeting even in private 
forbidden, and their books seized and burned 2 . 

"Thus," says Eusebius, "were the lurking places of the 
heretics broken up by the emperor's command, and the savage 
beasts they have harboured (I mean the chief authors of their 
impious doctrines) driven to flight. Of those whom they had 
deceived, some, intimidated by the emperor's threats a disguising 
their real feelings, crept secretly into the Church. 3?or since the 
law directed that search should be made for their books, those of 
them who practised evil and forbidden arts were detected, and these 
were ready to secure their own safety by dissimulation of every 
kind 3 ." 

Throughout the length and breadth of the Eoman Empire 
all but a very few Eoman nobles thus professed the faith of 
Christ. In the words of the dying Julian 3 the G-alilaean had 

From this time until our own, Christianity has reigned in 
the West with no serious rival. In the vnth century, when 
Mahommed's Arabs, flushed with the enthusiasm of a new 
faith which owed something at least to the relics of Gnosticism, 
poured in upon an Empire wearied out alike by perpetual war 
against the barbarians and by its own civil and religious 
dissensions, the Church was compelled to abandon to them her 
conquests in Africa and the East. In Europe, however, she 
continued in unchecked supremacy, gathering to herself and 

1 S. Bill, Ronwn Society in the LaM Centwry of the Western Empire, 
pp. 143-166. 

2 Eusebius, Vita Constantini, Bk xn. cc, 64, 65. 

3 Op. tit. c. 66. 

360 Conclusion 

assimilating the barbarians who at one time seemed likely to 
extinguish all civilization ; and she thus became a bond uniting 
many nations and languages in one community of faith and 
thought. She even succeeded in keeping alive the remains of 
that Greek art and learning which still form our best and 
proudest intellectual possession, and if during her reign many 
of the precious monuments of antiquity perished, the fault was 
not entirely hers. In every respect, her rule was supreme; 
and such enemies as she had in Europe were those of her own 
household. The Manichaeans who, as has been said, once bid 
fair to deprive her of some of her fairest provinces, never 
dared to make open war upon her, and their secret defection 
was punished by an unsparing use of the secular arm. The 
German Eeformation of the xvith century has probably left 
her stronger than before, and the few losses that she has suffered 
in the Old World have been more than compensated by the 
number of lieges she has succeeded in attaching to herself in 
the New. 

In the days of her infancy, and before she thus came into 
her inheritance, Christianity borrowed much from the rivals 
over which she was in the long run to reign supreme. Her 
outward observances, her ritual, and the organization of her 
hierarchy, are perhaps all due to the associations that she 
finally overcame. The form of her sacraments, the periods of 
her fasts and festivals, and institutions like monachism, cannot 
be explained without reference to those religions from whose 
rivalry she so long suffered. That, in such matters, the Church 
should take what was useful to her was, as said above, part 
of her consciously expressed policy, and doubtless had much 
to do with her speedy triumph. To show that her dogmas 
also took many things from the same source would involve 
an invasion into the domain of professional theology, for which 
I have neither authority nor desire. But if, at some future 
time, investigation should show that in this respect also 
Christianity owes something to her forerunners and rivals, 
the argument against her Divine origin would not thereby be 
necessarily strengthened. That, in the course of her develop- 

fy she acquired characteristics which fitted her to her 

Conclusion 361 

environment would be in strict conformity with the laws which 
appear to govern the evolution of all institutions ; and if the 
Power ruling the universe chooses to work by law rather than 
by what seems to us like caprice, such a choice does not show 
Him to be lacking either in wisdom or benevolence. 

As was said at the outset, everyone must be left to place 
his own interpretation on the facts here attempted to be set 
forth. But if, per impossible, we could approach the study of 
the origins of Christianity with the same mental detachment 
and freedom from prejudice with which we might examine 
the worship of the Syrian Jupiter Dolichenus or the Scandi- 
navian Odin, we should probably find that the Primitive Church 
had no need of the miraculous powers which were once assigned 
as the reason for her gradual and steady advance to all but 
universal dominion. On the contrary, it may be that Christianity 
would then appear as a link although a most important and 
necessary link in a regular chain of events which began 
more than three centuries before she emerged from her birth- 
place in Palestine into that Eoman world which in three 
centuries more was to be hers of right. No sooner had 
Alexander's conquests made a world-religion possible, than 
there sprang up, as we have seen, in his own city of Alexandria, 
a faith with a far higher and purer idea of Divinity than any 
that had until then been known in the West. Then the germs 
already present in small fraternities like those of the OrpHics 
and the Essenes blossomed forth into the fantastic and un- 
wholesome growths, as we must needs think them, of that 
Gnosticism which marked the transition of the ancient world 
from Paganism to Christianity. Lastly there came in from 
the countries under the influence of Kome's secular enemy, 
Persia, the heresy of Marcion, the religion of Mithras, and the 
syncretistic policy of Manes and his continuators. Against all 
these in turn, Christianity had to struggle in a contest where 
the victory was not always on her side: and if in time she 
overthrew them all, it can only be because she was better 
fitted to the needs of the world than any of her predecessors 
or contemporaries. 


Abel, Ophite story of, ii. 52; and 
Manichaean, ii. 304 

Aberamenthou, name used in Magic 
Papyri and Pistia Sophia, i. 102. 
See Jesus, Texts of Saviour 

Abiuth, receiver of Ariel in Texts of 
Saviour, ii. 186 

Abraham, named in Mag. Pap., i. 106 
n. 6; ii 34; an astrologer apud 
Arta/panus, i. 173; inspired by 
laldabaoth, ii. 53; Bosom of, in 
Marcion's system, ii. 211 

Abraxas, in system of Basilides, ii 90, 

Abydos. gods of, i, 33 n. 1 ; excava- 
tions at, i. 36 

Achaea^ worship of Goddesses Twain 
m> L 135 ; Cttician pirates deported 
to, fi. 229 

Achaamcaiides. Persian religion under, 
L 122; ii. 234 

Achamoth, Sophia of Ophites, ii. 45 
n. 1 ; called the Mother by Valen- 
tinus, ii. 112 n. 3; the Sophia 
Without of Valentinus, ii. 117 n. 2; 
baptism in name of, by Marcus, 
ii. 189 n. 1. See Sophia (2) 

Acheron, Isis shining in, i. 60 

Achilles, his horror of Hades, i. 59, 
150 ; his flattery of Zeus, i. 95 ; his 
purification by Ulysses, i. 121 n. 4 

Achrammachamari, name of Great 
Propator in Texts of Saviour and 
Mag. Pap., ii. 142 n. 2 

Acropolis, sacred things of Eleusis 
lodged in, i. 39; Serapeum built 
opposite, i. 52 

Acrostics, use of, in Jewish, Greek and 
Christian literature, i. 169 n. 1 ; in 
Vafecttinian epitaph, ii. 129 n. 3 

Adam,, the protoplast, Ophite story 
o& H 52, 58, 70 ; and Manichaean, 
i& ^9; and neo-Manichaean, ii. 


Adam or Adamos, god of Samothrace, 
;vlftft.l; ii 5472,6 

Adamas, the Ophite,, the Pirst Man 
or Great Light, ii. 38 ; gives birth 
to Second Man or Son, ibid.; 
called Father-and-Son, ii. 39; an- 
drogyne, ii. 40; forms triad with 
Holy Spirit, ii. 41 nn. 2, 3; all 
things except matter contained in, 
ii. 44 n. 2, 64 ; all light returns to, 
ii. 65, 80; called Caulacau, ii. 94 
. 3. See First Man. Caulacau ? 

Adamas. king of the Twelve Aeons in 
Pistis Sophia, his rebellion, ii. 48 
n. 4, 152 n. 1 ; place of, ii, 137 n. 3 ; 
ruler of Zodiac, ii. 152; delays 
redemption of souls, ii. 153 ; sends 
demon in shape of flying arrow, 
ii. 156 ; probably Diabolos or 
Cosmocrator of Valentinus, ii. 163. 
See Sabaoth Adamas 

Adamas of the Light, in neo-Mani- 
chaeism, ii. 325 ; slayer of monster, 
ii. 329 

Adonai, epithet of Zeus in Mag. Pap., 
i. 106 ; in Coptic, ii. 46 n, 3 ; son 
of Ophite Sophia, ii. 47; ruler of 
planetary sphere in Diagram, ii. 
69 ; meaning of name of, ii. 71 n. 1 ; 
address of soul to, ii. 72 

Adonis, wailed for in Athens, temp. 
Alcibiades, i. 16; Dying God of 
Mediterranean, i. 37 ; Asiatic form 
of Dionysos, i. 47 ; identified with 
Osiris, i. 55; identified with Dio- 
nysos by Orphics, i. 137, 145; 
identified with Dionysos at Eleusis, 
i. 139 n. 1; androgyne, i. 185; 
Ophites attend mysteries of, ii. 21, 
54; identified with Phrygian god, 
ii. 31; fiend in hell in Texts of 
Saviour, ii. 186 

Advent, the. See Parusia 

Aegean, islands of, birthplace of gods, 
i. 16, 52; early worship of Alex- 
andrian god.s in, i, 52; and of 
ip ii, 135 



Aeinous or Aionios (Everlasting), 
member of Valentinian Dodecad, 
ii. 101 

Aelius Aristides, quoted, i. 55 n. 2, 
58, 60, 64 n. 3; ii. 66 n. 2 

Aeon, Thirteenth, highest place of 
Left in P.&, ii. 143, 150 ; Authades 
would-be ruler of, ii. 151, 153; 
first dwelling-place of Pistis 
Sophia, ii. 155; place below it 
made for Pistis Sophia, ii. 155, 
156; Pistis Sophia restored to, ii. 

Aeons, the Twelve, described, ii. 143, 
152, 153; souls made from tears 
of rulers of, ii. 153; Jesus takes 
away part of their power, ii. 154; 
divided into repentant and un- 
repentant, ii. 182 ; the mystery of, 
in Bruce Papyrus, ii. 195. See 

Aerodios, power mentioned in Bruce 
Papyrus, ii. 191 

Aeschines, son of Glaucothea, i. 22; 
Demosthenes' invective against, 
quoted, i. 138. See Sabazius 

Aeschylus, quoted, i. 48, 55. 123 

Aether, offspring of Time ap. Orphics, 
i. 123 

Afghanistan, included in Persian 
Empire, i. 1 

Africa, political power of priesthoods 
in, i. 31; Mithraism in Northern, 
ii. 230 ; christianized Manichaeism 
of, ii. 339 

Agape or Love, supreme God of 
Diagram, ii. 68, 123 n. 3 ; supreme 
God of Valentinus, ii. 98 n. 1; 
feminine member of Valentinian 
Dodecad, ii. 101 ; supreme God of 
Marcion, ii. 210; seal of Azrua 
in neo-Manichaeism, ii. 341. See 

Agdistis, name of androgyne Cybele, 
ii. 39, 40 

Ageratos or Never-ageing, member of 
Valentinian Decad, ii. 101 

Agla, cabalistic word used in mediaeval 
magic, ii 139 n. I 

Agra on the Hissus, mysteries of, i. 41 

Agrestius, a darissimus and high priest 
of Mithras, ii. 239 

Ahnas-el-Medineh or Heraeleopolis, 
mentioned in magic spell, i. 98 

Ahriman, Areimanios, or Arimanius, 
in Bundahish slayer of Gaydmort, 
i. 126 n. 3; not entirely evil till 
Sassanid times, ii. 232, 253 ; Magi 
sacrifice to, ii. 234; son of Zervan 
Akerene (Cumont), ii. 236, 252; 

altars dedicated to, ii. 239 ; Mithras 
superior to, ii 240 ; in BundahM 
slayer of bull Goshurun, ii. 246, 
254; ruler of earth in Mithraism, 
ii. 255, 256; modified worship of, 
in Mithraism, ii. 278; likeness of 
representation of, to Manichaean 
Satan, ii. 291. See Goshurun 

Ahura Mazda, the Omniscient Lord, 
i liii; father of Gaydmort, i. Ixi; 
Supreme Being of Yashts, ii. 231 ; 
his relations to Amshaspands, ii. 
232 ; in Behistun inscription, ii. 233 ; 
not mentioned in Mithraic monu- 
ments, ii. 239; in Bundahish, ii. 
246 ; replaced by Jupiter O.M. in 
Mithraism, ii. 246; worship of, 
restored by Ardeshir, ii. 284 

Ailoaios or Eloaeus. ruler of planetary 
sphere in Diagram, ii. 69, 70 n. 2, 
74 n. 3 ; address to, ii. 73 ; sphere 
of Venus, 74 n. 1 

Akae, cryptographic name in Book of 
Enoch, i. 169, 170 

Akinetos or Immovable, member of 
Valentinian Decad, ii. 101 

Albigenses, successors of Maniehaeans, 
ii. 357 

Al-Biruni, quoted, ii. 279, 280, 283, 
284, 286 n. 1, 307 

Alcibiades, goes to Susa, i. 7 ; Adonis 
wailed for when Sicilian expedi- 
tion of, sails, i. 16 

Alcmaeon of Crotona, calls stars gods, 
i. 186 n. 2 

Aldabeim, name of sun in Mag. Pap., 
ii. 46 n. 3 

Aletheia, member of 1st Valentinian 
syzygy, ii. 98 

Alexander of Abonoteichos, his im- 
postures, i. 24; comes to Borne 
under Marcus Aurelius, ii. 203 

Alexander, King of Epirus, Asoka's 
mission to, i. 20 

Alexander the Great, his conquests 
hellenize Mediterranean Basin, i. 
Iviii; the world before and after, 
i. 1 sgq. ; greatest individual in 
history, i. 4, 12 sq. ; his aims and 
achievements, i. 5-8, 26-27; his- 
deification explained, i. 18; reli- 
gious associations follow conquests 
of, i 22-26 s##.; his work in 
Egypt, i. 29, 44; his probable 
plans for universal religion, i. 30 ; 
breaks down national barriers, i. 54, 
107 ; makes world-religions possible, 
i. Ill; his conduct towards Jews, 
i. 150 ; re-settles Samaria, i. 177 ; 
son of Zeus in serpent form, ii. 49 ; 



his effect on cosmology and ethics, 
ii. 86 ; consoled by Anaxarchus for 
death of Clitus, ii. 87. See India 

Alexander, bishop of Lycopolis, quoted, 
ii. 294 n. 2, 295 n. 2. 

Alexander Severus, the Emperor, 
gods in lararium of, i. 82 ; his suc- 
cess against Persians, ii. 226 

Alexander the Valentioian, leader of 
Anatolic School, ii. 119 

Alexandria, its foundation by Alex- 
ander, i. 5; its importance not at 
first recognized, i. 28; Sema of 
Alexander at, i. 30 ; a Greek city, 
i. 44 ; Serapeum of, i. 48, 51, 58 n. 
1 ; oracle of Serapis at, i. 77 ; 
worship of Serapis at, L 82 n. 2, 86 ; 
destruction of temples at, by 
Theodosius, i. 83, 84; Hadrian's 
opinion of, i. 86; early Gnostics 
start from, i. Ill; ii. 8; Orphics 
plentiful at, i. 156 ; Simon Magus' 
doctrines at, i. 198 ; ii. 89 ; intel- 
lectual centre of Roman world, ii. 
88; Basilides teaches at, ii. 90 

Alfenius Julianus Kumenius, clarissi- 
mus and priest of Mithras, ii. 268 

Allat, the goddess, EreshMgal an 
epithet of, i. 100 

Alleius Craeonius, author on magic, i. 

Amazons, the story of, suggests bi- 
sexual deity, ii. 40 

Ambrose of Milan, convert from 
Valentinianism, i. 112 n. 1; ii. 
21 ?i. 5; his date, ii. 132 n. 2 

Amelineau, E., translates Pistis Sophia, 
ii. 13; translates Bruce Papyrus, 
ii. 190 ; his date for Bruce Papyrus, 
ii. 194; quoted, ii. 178, 191, 192, 
193, 195 

Amen of Thebes, the god, father of 
Alexander, i. 18; priesthood of, 
i. 23, 31 sqq. ; Ptolemies raise 
temples to, i. 52 

Amenhotep IV, King of Egypt, 
failure of monotheistic teaching of, 
i. 11; priests of Amen crush 
heresy of, i 31 

Amens, the Three, powers mentioned 
in P.$., ii, 142; and in Brace 
Papyrus, ii. 1^3 

A.TflepSy the Seven, powers mentioned 
iat P.$., ii. 141; and in Bruce 
us, ii. 193 

% go& caHed Lord of, i 33; 
of, 45, 102; Jesus 
; a ML 
182, itt; 

Aberam.enth.6u, Jesus, Khent- 

Ameretat or Immortality, one of the 
Amshaspands, i. 181 n. 1 ; ii. 
324 n. 4, 355. See Appellant and 

Amitrochates, son of Chandragupta, 
his desire for Greek learning, i. 

Amon. See Amen of Thebes 

Amos, the Prophet, inspired by lalda- 
baoth ap. Ophites, ii. 81 n. 2 

Amshaspands, the Seven, and the 
Seven Planets, i. 117; names of, 
i. 181, n. 1 ; ii. 103 n. 3 ; likeness of, 
to "roots" of Simon Magus, ii. 103 
n. 3 ; and to Aeons of Valentinus, 
ii. 103 n. 3; in Avesta, ii. 232; 
absent from early Manichaeism, 
ii. 327 n. 4 ; mention of, in neo- 
Manichaeism, ii. 330, 355 

Anat, the goddess, assessor of Yahweh, 
ii. 32 n. 4 

Anatolia, its religious peculiarities 
temp. Christ, ii. 28 sqq., 77; its 
worship of double axe, 67 n. 3 

Anaxarchus the Atomist philosopher, 
consoles Alexander after death of 
Clitus, ii. 87 

Ancient of Days, name of Valentinian 
laldabaoth, ii. 107 n, 2 

Andrew the Apostle, Saint, name of, 
shows predilection of Jews for 
Greek names, i. 173 n. 2; men- 
tioned in Pistis Sophia, ii. 157 

Anebo, letter of Porphyry to, for 
threats of Egyptian magicians to 
gods, i. 104 n. 3 

Angels, Essenes sworn to preserve 
the names of, i. 153, 157 ; no names 
of, in O.T., until Daniel, i. 158; 
rulers over tribes of demons, ibid. ; 
sinning, cast into abyss of fire 
(Baruch), i. 165; Ennoia produces 
world-making, ap. Simon M., i. 187 ; 
patterns after which worlds made 
(Philo), i. 187 n. 3; world to be 
freed from rule of, ap. Simon, i. 
196,* Simonians say God of Jews 
one of world-making (Epiphanius), 
i. 199 ; seven heavens are also, ap. 
Valentinians (Irenaeus), ii. 107 n. 4 ; 
are Logoi sent into soul by Jesus 
and Sophia, ii. 110; souls after 
death, brides of, 'ibid. ; terror of 
angels at speech of man (Valen- 
tinus), ii 112 n. 3; Archons of 
Adamas in Texts of Saviour beget, 
ii 152 %. 1; Splenditenens and 
Afea* of Manichaei&m, iL 297, 298. 



See Enoch, Gabriel, Great Council, 

Michael, Tertullian 
Annu or On, Egyptian name of 

Heliopolis and chief seat of worship 

of Ra, i. 31 
Anthesteria, ceremonies of, show resur- 

rection and marriage of Dionysos, 

i. 42 
Anthropos, member of 3rd Valentinian 

Antigonus Monophthalmos, King of 
Syria, his retort when hailed as a 
god, i. 19 5 Phrygia occupied alter- 
nately by him and Lysimachus, ii. 

Antigonus Gonatas, King of Mace- 
donia, mission of Asoka to, i. 20. 
See, Tarn 

Antinous, death of, fixes date of 
Hadrian's letter to Servian, i. 86 
n. 5 

Antioch, worship of Serapis at, i. 35; 
birthplace of Carpocrates, i. Ill; 
and of Saturninus, ii. 9, 89 

Antiochus I Soter, King of Syria, 
mission of Asoka to, i. 20 

Antiochus III the Great, King of 
Syria, seizes Palestine, i. 151; 
transports Jewish families to Ana- 
tolia, ii. 28 

Antioehus IV Epiphanes, King of 
Syria, attempts to hellenize Jews, 
i. 151, 156, 162, 163; Book of 
Daniel written temp., i. 158 ; caught 
between Romans and Parthians, 
i. 160 ; his mystic antagonist Taxo, 
i. 170 ; Samaritans accept reforms 
of, i. 177 

Antitheses, the. See Marcion 

Antonines, the, Isis-worship at its 
apogee temp., i. 54, 81 

Antoninus Pius, the Emperor, Simo- 
nians in Rome temp., i. 199 

Anubis, the god, son of Osiris and 
Nephthys, i. 35; tribal deity of 
jackal totem, i. 36; his seeking 
for Osiris in Rome, i. 70 ; in pro- 
cession at Cenchreae, i, 72; mask 
of, used as disguise, i 78. See 
Marcus Volusius 

Apelles, the Marcionite, his tenets, ii. 

Apep, the serpent, enemy of the sun- 
god Ra, ii. 78 

Aphrodite, the goddess, worshipped 
under other names by confraterni- 
ties, i. 25; and Adonis, 1 37; ii. 
31 ; daughter of Zeus, i 124 n. 3 ; 
identified by Orphics with Isis and 
others, i. 137 n. 1; Orphic hymn 

to, i. 142 n. 2; called Cytheraea, 
i. 143; the Mother of the Gods 
in Cyprus, ii. 40; called Mother 
of All Living in Asia, ii. 135 n. 3; 
on Mithraic monuments, ii. 238. 
See Venus 

Apis, the "life" of Osiris, i. 32, 45, 49 

Apocalypse of St John, the, its date, 
ii. 26 n. 3; quoted, i. 145 n. 1, 
158, 169, 182 n. 4; ii. 4 n. 1, 25 

Apocatastasis, return of the worlds to 
God, an Ophite doctrine, ii. 42, 57 

Apollo, the god, his birthplace, i. 16 ; 
identified with Horus, i. 48, 63; 
his contempt for mankind, i. 57; 
his place in Orphic legend, i. 125, 
147; on Mithraic monuments, ii. 
238; distinct from Helios, i. 240; 
worship of, under Julian, i. 269 

Apollonius of Tyana, image of, in 
Alexander Severus' lararium, i. 82 

Apopkasis of Simon Magus, the, 
described, i. 179; quoted, i. 182, 
188, 189, 193, 194; ii. 90 n. 5 

Apostles, demand only faith from 
converts, i. Ivii; do not borrow 
from earlier creeds, i. 88; their 
meeting with Simon Magus, i. 176, 
177; in Clementines, i. 178; 
intolerance of, due to Jewish origin 
(Bouche'-Leclercq), ii. 10 ; souls of, 
in P.S. drawn from Treasure-house, 
ii. 137, 147 

Apostolical Constitutions, their date, 
ii 7 n. 2 ; quoted, i. 87 n. 1 ; ii. 7 
nn. 2, 3, 219 n. 2 

Appellant and Respondent gods, the, 
in neo-Manichaeism, ii. 02 . 1, 
324, 343, 354, 355 

Apuat, the god, " opener of the ways," 
i. 33 

Apuleius of Madaura, quoted, i. 56, 
59, 60, 61, 62, 63, 64, 65, 66, 67, 
68, 71, 73-74, 75, 77, 86 n. 3, 101 

71. 2 

Aramati, the Vedic goddess, identi- 
fied with Spenta Armaiti of the 
Avesta, ii. 45 n. 1, 300 n. 2 

Ararat or Ararad, Mt, Books of Jeu 
hidden in, ii. 147 n. 5 

Arbela, Greek troops on Persian side 
at, i. 7; Alexander's pursuit after, 
i. 13 

Arcadia, Eleusinian triad worshipped 
in, i. 135 

Arcadius, the Emperor, Church dedi- 
cated to, in place of Serapeum, i. 84 

Archelai Acta. See Hegemonius 

Archimedes, his calculation of places of 
stars sinful (Hippolytus), i. 112 n. 2 



Architect of the Universe. See De- 

Archon, the Great, of Basilides, the 
Demiurge, ii 91; likeness of, to 
laldabaoth, ii 94 

Archontics, the, a sect related to the 
Ophites, ii. 77 

Arctinus of Miletus, first Greek 
author to mention purification, i. 
121 n. 4 

Arctos, the Great Bear, in Mithraism, 
ii. 266 

Arda mraf namak, the, quoted, ii 
264 n. 5 

Ardeshir, the Shah, restorer of 
Persian nationality, ii. 226, 282; 
his son Peroz converted to Mani- 
chaeism, ii. 281 ; restores worship 
of Ahura Mazda, ii. 284 

Ares, the god, identified with Roman 
Mars, i. 17; Homeric or Orphic 
hymn to, i. 141 n. 2, 142 n. 2; 
on Mithraic monuments, ii. 238 

Argolis, the, Eleusinian triad wor- 
shipped in, i. 135 

Ariel, a fiend in Texts of Saviour, ii. 186 

Arimaspi, the, fables concerning, i. 2 
n. 1 

Aristaeus, pro-Jewish writer, i. 173 

Aristides. See Aelius Aristides 

Aristides, Christian apologist, ii. 203, 
204 n. 1 

Aristion, Athenian courtezan member 
of religious confraternity, i. 22 

Aristophanes, quoted, i. 17 n. 1, 40 
n. 4, 124, 137; scholiast on, i. 17 
n. 1 

Aristotle, his monotheism, i. 10 ; says 
that religion follows form of govern- 
ment, i 12, 15; that Orpheus did 
not exist, i. 121 n. I 

Armageddon, covers name of Rome, 
i. 170 n. 5 

Armenia, Ophites in, ii. 76 ; kings of, 
claim descent from Persian heroes, 
ii. 225 n. 1; Marcionites and 
Bardesanites in, ii. 283; invasion 
of, by Mihr Nerses, ii. 285 

Arnobias, adv. Gentes, quoted, i. 124 
n. 3; ii. 39 nn. 2, 4, 264 n. 5 

Arri&n, Anabasis, quoted, L 4 n. I 

Arsaoes, founder of Parthian kingdom, 
ii. 224 

Arsmoe, wife of Ptolemy PMLadelphus, 
i 18 

Artapanus, On &e Jews, quoted, i. 173 
t&e goddiess, the Ephesian, 
of Greek, 

Ephesian, called bees, i. 143 n. 4; 
Phrygian, ii. 67 n. 3 ; on Mithraic 
monuments, ii. 238. See Diana 

Aryans, their dealings with lower 
races, i. 3, 92 

Asar-hapi, Osiris as Apis, i. 49 

Asha Vashishta or Truth, the Amshas- 
pand, i. 181 n. 1 

Asia, before Alexander, i. 1; made 
Greek by Alexander, i. 5 ; rush of 
Greeks to, i. 7 ; Greek spoken 
throughout, i. 8; cruelty of 
Assyrian domination in, i. 12; 
returns to Persian ways, ii. 

Asia Minor, native religions of, i Iviii, 
37, 126; ii. 29, 36, 49, 67 n. 3; 
gods of, coalesce with Greek, i. 17 ; 
home of Dionysos worship, i. 43 n. 
3; Alexandrian gods worshipped 
in, i. 53; Vedic gods worshipped 
in, i. 122 n. 3; Eleusinian gods 
worshipped in, i. 136; Orphics 
in, i. 141, 156 ; ii. 236 ; priestesses 
called bees in, i. 143 n. 4 ; Jewish 
atrocities in, temp. Trajan, i. 173 
n. 1; Ophite heresy probably native 
to, ii. 26, 76; Jewish settlements 
in, ii. 28; Jewish magicians in, 
temp. Apostles, ii. 33; matri- 
archate in, ii. 40; Babylonian 
culture in, ii, 48; serpent worship 
in, ii. 49, 77, 78 ; reverts to Persian 
ways, ii. 225 ; Mithraism in, ii. 229, 
232, 268 

Askew, Dr, sells Pistis Sophia to 
British Museum, ii. 134 

Asklepios or Aesculapius, the god, 
Alexander of Abonoteichos priest 
of, i. 24; Serapis statue that of, 
i. 48 n. 3, 78 n. 2; identified with 
Serapis, i. 78, 87 

Aso, the Ethiopian queen, enemy of 
Osiris, L 33, 37 n. I 

Asoka, his missions to Greek kings, 
i. 20 

Assur-bani-pal, King of Assyria, his 
library at Kuyunjik, i. 94, 114 

Assyria, penitential psalms of, i. 115; 
Jews tributary to, i. 160 n. 4 

Assyrians, the, tyranny of, i. 3; 
suzerains of Hebrews, i. 150 ; name 
used for Syrians in Christian times, 
ii. 53 n. 4. 54 n. 6; worship of 
Mylitta by (Herodotus), ii 234 

Astaphaios or Astaphaeus, ruler of 
planetary sphere in Diagram, ii. 47 ; 
same derived from magic (Origen), 
iL 47, 48; once called Astanpheus, 
iL 47, 69 n. &; lord of third gate, 



ii. 70 n. 2, 73, 74 n. 3; address to, 
ii. 73 

Astarte, the goddess, worship of, 
brought into Greece, i. 17; wor- 
shipped by Greek confraternity, 
i. 25; Phoenician form of earth 
goddess, i. 126 ; dove, totem-animal 
of, ii. 135 n. 3; Mater Viventium, 

Astrampsuchos, name of Roman 
writer on magic, i. 107; name of 
celestial guard in Bruce Papyrus, 
i. 107 n. 1 ; power worshipped by 

Astrology, origin of, in Chaldaea, i. 
113; fundamental idea of, i. 114; 
system of correspondences results 
from, i. 115, 116 ; impulse given to, 
by Greek mathematics, i. 116, 117; 
all religions in Graeco-Roman 
world take note of, i. 117, 118; 
gives new life to Gnosticism, i. 119 ; 
Ophites mix astrological ideas with 
Orphic teaching, ii. 78; first pro- 
minent in Gnosticism in Excerpta 
TJieodoti, ii. 158 n. 1; its great 
vogue in Rome under Severi, ibid. ; 
reprobated in Pistis Sophia, ii. 185 ; 
part of scheme of punishments and 
salvation in Texts of Saviour, ii. 
185 n. 2; its importance in 
Mithraism, ii. 235, 276. See Baby- 

Atargatis or Dea Syria, favourite 
deity of Nero, ii. 31*; her Anatolian 
name and identification with other 
goddesses, ii. 31 n. 1 ; homonym of 
Berketo (Garstang), ii. 40 TO. 1 ; her 
identity with the Mother of the 
Gods, ii. 299 n. 1; Manichaean 
Mother of Life derived from, ii. 
300 n. 2 

Athamas the Pythagorean, his doc- 
trine of "roots," i. 197 

Athanasius, Saint, creed of, i. 89 

Athena, the goddess, identified with 
Minerva, i. 17 ; her part in Eleu- 
sinian Mysteries, i. 39; the 
Homeric, i. 57, 95, 124 n. 3 ; statue 
of Helena of Tyre as, i. 198; on 
Mithraic monuments, ii. 238. See 
Minerva, Pallas 

Athenagoras, quoted, i. Ivii n.l t 63 
n. 5, 64 n. 3 ; ii. 18 n. 2 

Athens, foreign worships in, i. 16, 17 
n. 1, 137; accepts deification of 
Alexander, i. 18 ; gathering in, for 
Eleusinian Mysteries, i. 38-41; 
Alexandrian religion in, i. 52, 76; 
Orphic myths brought into, by 

Epimenides, i. 121; Orphic gold 
plates in Museum at, i. 132 

Athos Mt, Philosophumena discovered 
at, ii. 11 

Atlas. See Corybas, Omophorus 

Attis or Atys, the god, his worship 
brought into Greece, i. 17, 136; 
his legend, i. 37 ; ii. 39; identified 
with Sun, i. 118; and with Dio- 
nysos, Adonis and Osiris, i. 137 n. I, 
145; ii. 17; and with Sabazius, 
i. 138, 139; androgyne, i. 185; 
Gnostics attend mysteries of, ii. 21 ; 
Phrygia, home of worship of, ii. 28, 
67 n. 3; to Ophites, type of world- 
soul, ii. 65 7i. 3 

Augustine of Hippo, Saint, convert 
from Manichaeism, i. 112 n. 1; 
well informed about Manichaeans, 
ii. 352 ; quoted, i. 103 n. 4; ii. 10 n. 
1, 12 n. 4, 25, 261, 298 n. 1, 317, 
319, 331, 332, 343, 346, 349 n. 4, 

Augustus, the Emperor, Samaria's 
capital named Sebaste in honour of, 
i. 177; Galatians become Roman 
temp., ii. 28; Parthians' terror of 
(Horace), ii. 225 

Aurelian, the Emperor, his worship of 
sun-god, i. 119 n. 1; ii. 228; 
position of Christianity under, ii. 
23; restores "Roman arms in the 
East, ii. 226; gives up Dacia to 
Goths, ii. 271 

Authades, the Proud God of the Pistis 
Sophia, last member of Triad of the 
Left, ii. 151 ; his disobedience, ii. 
152; his envy of Pistis Sophia, ii. 
155 ; sends demon in shape of flying 
arrow, ii. 156; his place given to 
Pistis Sophia, ii. 162 

Autogenes, power mentioned in Bruce 
Papyrus, ii. 192 

Autophyes or Self -produced, member 
of Valentinian Becad, ii. 101 

Avebury, Lord, quoted, i. 91, 99 n. 1 

Avesta, the Zend, Seven Amshaspands 
of, i. 117; emanation doctrine in, 
ii 35; First Man in, ii. 38 n. 3; 
Supreme Being in, ii. 231 ; Onnuzd 
and Ahriman in, ii. 236; bull 
Goshurun in, ii. 243; denounces 
magic, ii. 275 n. 2 ; doubtful about 
eternity of evil, ii. 289; quoted, 
ii. 310, 311 

Avidius Cassius, his victories over 
Parthians, ii. 225 

Axe, Double. See Bacchus, Caria, 
Crete, Cybele, Cyranides, Labrys, 
Mycenae, Ramsay, Simon Magus 



Axionicus the Valentinian, member of 

Anatolic School, ii. 119 
Azrua, name of God of Light in neo- 

Manichaeism, ii. 323, 341, 342. 

See Zervan 

BaaLzephon, name in magic spell, i 
106 n. 4 

Babylon, break up of priesthoods of, 
i. 122; rich Jews remain in, after 
captivity, i. 172; Jewish families 
from, transported to Phrygia, ii. 28 ; 
its site marked by Eilleh, ii. 33; 
Jewish taste for cryptograms de- 
rived from, ii. 35 

Babylonia, Zoroastrian borrowings 
from, i. Ixi; original home of 
Dying God, i. 38 n. 1; relics of 
Sumerian beliefs in, 1 100; astral 
theory originates in, i 115 n. 1, ,116 ; 
and primaeval deep theory, ii. 36 ; 
and Western astrology, ii. 235 

Babylonians, astronomy of, i. 114; 
isopsephism first used by, il 69 n. 
3; figure earth like boat, ii. 48; 
think sky a rocky vault, ii. 249 

Bacchanals, orgies of, from Thrace, i. 

Bacchus, concealed object in Cory- 
bantic rites of, i 73 n. 1 ; Mithraic 
dignitary Chief Herdsman of, i. 83 ; 
Orphic initiate called, i. 128; 
identified with Attis, Adonis, Osiris, 
etc., i. 139 n. 1 ; Orphic hymns to, 
L 142 nn. 2, 5, 143; wine called, 
i. 168 ; and worship of double axe, 
ii 67 n. 3. See Dionysos 

Bacchylides, quoted, i. 40 n. 1 

Bactria, home of Roxana, 15; tale 
of Possessed Princess of, i. 10; 
Alexander's massacres in, i 13; 
its struggles against Alexander, i 
28 ; Buddhism and Zoroastrianism 
in, ii. 283 

Bahram. See Varanes 

Baillet, M. Auguste, quoted, i. 65 

Baluchistan, included in Persian 
Empire, i. 1 

Ban or Laban, the Great, a power 
mentioned by Bar Kh6ni, ii. 324 

Banquet, the, Valentinian wedding of 
souls, ii. Ill; scene in Mithraic 
monuments, ii. 247 

Baptism, used by Ophites, ii. 61; 
teaching of Primitive Church as to, 
ii. 168 ; subverts influence of stars 
(Tbeodotus), ii. 115 n. 3; Marcus 
adds Hebrew exorcisms to, ii. 129, 
189 n. I ; one of the Mysteries in 
Pts&* Sophia, ii 169; postponed 

until death by married Marcionites* 
ii 215, 221; Mithraists use total 
immersion in, ii. 260. See Oblation, 

Barbeliotae, Barbelitae or Borboriani, 
apparently an Ophite sect, ii. 27 
n. I ; described by Irenaeus, ii. 77, 
138 n. 1 ; identified with Naas- 
senes and called Simonians (Iren- 
aeus), ii. 138 n. 1 

Barbelo, mother of Pistis Sophia, ii. 
74 n. 1; names and place of, ii 
138 n. 1, 151 n. 4 ; Jesus in Pistis 
Sophia takes material body from, 
ii. 151, 179; in P.S. consort of 
Great Propator, ii. 150, 155 ; men- 
tioned in Texts of Saviour as 
mother of Pistis Sophia, ii. 186 

Barcochebas, Bar Cochba or Bar 
Coziba, the Jewish Messiah called 
Monogenes, i 124 n. 3 

Bardesanes or Bar Daisan the Valen- 
tinian, ii. 119 ; his life, ii. 120 ; pro- 
tected by King of Edessa, ii. 132; 
borrows from Zoroaster (Al-Bfruni), 
ii 214 n. 2 ; Manes knows doctrines 
of, ii. 280, 290 n. 4 ; his doctrines 
enter Persia, ii. 283 

Barnabas, hailed as Zeus, i. 191 
n. 3 ; ii. 42 ; with Paul summarizes 
Hebrew history for Phrygians, ii. 
53 n. 2; Epistle of, quoted, ii. 166 
n. 2 

Barpharanges, magic word used in 
Bruce Papyrus, ii. 192 

Baruch, Apocalyptic literature at- 
tributed to, i. 163, 164; Boole of, 
used by Ophites, ii. 79; Apoca- 
lypse of, quoted, ii. 257 

Basifides, the heresiarch, a Jew 
(Neander), ii. 9 n. 1 ; says body of 
Jesus a phantasm, ii. 16, 17; con- 
temporary with Carpocrates, ii 
27 n. 3; disciple of Menander, ii. 
89; his teaching, ii. 89 sqq. ; his 
doctrine, comes through Matthias, 
ii. 90 ; his borrowings from Egyp- 
tian religion, ii. 92; his followers 
go over to Valentinus, ii. 93; his 
relations with Buddhism, ii. 96; 
words of, repeated in Texts of 
Saviour, 189; quoted, ii 172. See 

Basilidians, their relative date, ii 25 
n. 5 

Baubo, the goddess, a form of Perse- 
phone, i 100 

Baur, 3T. C., of Tubingen, says Simon 
Magus is St Paul, i. 179 n. 3 

Beast, Number of. See Number 



Bedouins, introduce horse into Egypt, 
i 36 

Beelzebub, Beelzebud, or Beelzebuth, 
chief of demons in Valentinian 
system, ii. 108 ; his name a parody 
of Jabezebuth, ii. 108 n. 1; Lord 
of Chaos, ii. 109 ,* his possible place 
in Pistis Sophia, ii. 163 

Behemoth (animals), in Diagram, ii. 

Bel, the god, his fight with Tiamat, 
ii. 44 n. 3; reappears in neo- 
Manichaeism, ii. 295 n. 2 

Belisarius, his victories over Persians, 
ii. 226 

Bellerophon, appears in procession of 
Isis at Cenchreae, i. 71 

Bellona, the goddess, identified with 
Isis, i. 56. See Ma 

Bendis, the moon-goddess of Thrace, 
i 16; identified with Persephone, 
i 137 

Beqa, cryptogram for Tetragramma- 
ton, i. 169, 170 

Berossos or Berossus, legend about 
Zervan attributed to, i. Ix; our 
indebtedness to, i. 9; quotes in- 
stance of isopsephism from Baby- 
lonians, i. 169 n. 3 

Bes, the god, dance of, on Hercula- 
neum fresco, i. 69 n. I 

Bethel, the god, assessor of Yahweh 
at Elephantine, ii. 32 n. 4 

Bhils, sorcerers to higher races, i. 92 

Bissing, Freiherr von, quoted, i. 68 
n. 1, 69 n. L See Herculaneum 

Bithynia, seat of Glycon worship, 
i. 24 ; inscriptions from, i. 55 n. 3 ; 
Ophite colleges in, in 5th cent. A.D., 
ii. 77 

Boeotia, native country of Dionysos, 
i. 52; Orphic teaching in, i. 135; 
worship of Bacchus comes from 
Thrace to, i. 136 

Boghaz-keui, Vedic gods worshipped 
at, i. bdi n. 2, 122 n. 3 ; ii. 231 

Bogomiles, successors of Maniehaeans, 
ii. 357 

Bologna, Mithraic group at, ii. 238 n. 2 

Book of the Dead. See Bead 
* Borboriani. See Barbeliotae 

Bosphorus, Isis-worship at Thraciaii, 
i. 53 

-Bouch6-Leclercq, M. A., thinks Timo- 
theos and Manetho only typical 
names, i. 44 n. 1; and Bryaxis* 
statue that of Asklepios, i. 48 n, 3; 
says Apostolic and sub-Apostolic 
intolerance for heresy due to Jewish 
nationality, ii. 10 ; quoted, i. 14 n. 

L. n. 

3, 27 n. 1, 28 nn. 1, 2, 29 nn. 1, 3, 
30 nn. 2, 3, 44 nn. 1, 2, 48 n. 3, 
52 n. 1, 55 n. 1, 78 n. 2, 80 n. 1, 
87 n. 2; ii. 10 n. 2, 257 n. 5 

Brimo, name given to Demeter in 
Mysteries, i. 124 n. 3 

Bruce Papyrus, thaumaturgic sacra- 
ments in, i, 87 n. 1; ii. 63 n. 1, 
172 n. 3; 183%. 1, 193; Astram- 
psuchos, name of "guard" in, i. 
107 n I ; creation from indivisible 
point, i. 194 n. 3; ii. 90 n. 5; 
discovery of, by Bruce, ii. 13, 
189; its god Sitheus. ii. 76 n. 4; 
its addiction to astrology, ii. 158 n. 
1; describes higher worlds than 
Pistis Sophia, ii. 161 n. 2; makes 
matter non-existent, ii. 161 n. 3; 
pictures like those in, perhaps 
referred to in P.S., ii. 180 n. 2; 
author of, acquainted with story of 
Jabraoth, ii. 182 n. 2; variety of 
documents in, ii. 189, 190; links 
of, with Texts of Saviour, ii. 193 ; 
with Pistis Sophia, ii 194; pro- 
bable date of, ibid. ; quoted, ii. 
191, 195 

Bryaxis, his statue of Serapis, L 48, 
49, 78 n. 2, 84 

Buda-Pesth, altars to Ahriman found 
at, ii. 239 

Buddha, Mani teaches divine mission 
of, i. Iviii; ii. 316; Greek statues 
of, in India, i 8 ; called Terebin- 
thus, ii. 285; first mentioned in 
Greek by Gem. Alex., ii 286 

Buddhas, Cave of the Thousand, MS. 
found in, ii. 352. See Tun-huang 

Buddhism, study of, i. Ii; its slow 
growth in India, i 20; unknown 
to Onomacritos, i 135 n. 1; its 
dates, i 156 n. I ; ii 283 ; BasOMes' 
supposed borrowings from, ii 96; 
in Bactria, ii. 283; Manichaean 
borrowings from, ii. 313, 340, 346 ; 
its toleration of Maniehaeans, ii 

Budge, Br E. A. T. Wallis, quoted, 
i 31 n. 1, 32 nn. 3, 4, 33 nn. 1, 2, 
35 n. 1, 38 n. 2, 61 n. 1, 88 n.*2, 
126 n, 3, 182 n. 6; ii 49 n. 3, 72 n. 
3, 121 n. 3, 154 n. 3, 184 n. 3, 293 
n. 1 

Bulgaria, Maniehaeans settled in, ii. 

Bundahish, the, quoted, i 126 n. 3, 
134%. 1; ii. 24$, 254 

Burkhans, divine messengers in Mani- 
chaeism, ii. 336, 339, 341. See 




Bury, Pro! J. B., quoted, i. 86 

Buto, the city of Isis, i. 34 

Byblus iii Phoenicia, body of Osiris 

washed ashore at, i. 34 
Bythios or Deep, member of Valen- 

tinian Decad, ii. 101 
Bythos, Supreme God of Ophites, ii. 

37, 39; Supreme God of Valen- 

tinus, ii. 96, 97 ; his consort, ibid. ; 

identified with Ineffable of Pistis 

Sophia, ii. 144; resembles Ahura 

Mazda, ii. 232 
Byzantium, birthplace of Theodotus, 

ii. 9 

Cabala, the Jewish, system of corre- 
spondences in, i. 115; its Mystery 
of Chariot and Mystery of Creation, 
i. 157; processes of "Practical," 
i. 158 n. 1, 170 nn. 2, 5 ; its system 
of Sephiroth, i. 202; Marcus uses 
system like that of, ii. 9 n. 1; 
indicated in Talmud, ii, 35; like- 
ness of, to Gnosticism, iL 36 n. 1 ; 
its Adam Cadmon or ITirst Man, 
ii. 52 n. 1 ; Ophite stories of proto- 
plasts revived in, ii. 53 

Cabiri of Samothrace, Hermes in 
worship of, i. 99; mentioned in 
Hymn to Attas, ii. 54 

Cabul, importance of, foreseen by 
Alexander, i. -5 

Oaeoilia Secundina, name on Orphic 
gold plate, i 133, 169 n. 1 

Cain, Ophite story of, ii. 52; Mani- 
chaean story of, iL 303; in neo- 
Manichaeism father of Wisdom 
and Pleasure, ibid. 

Oainites, an Ophite sect, ii. 27, 77 

Calabria, Orphic gold plates found at r 
i 131 

Oallias, Torchbearer at Mysteries of 
Eleusis, i. 76, ii. 87 n. 3 

Oallinicum, Valentinian conventicle 
at, burned by orthodox, ii. 96 

Callisthenes, life of Alexander attri- 
buted to, i. 18 n. 1 

Galvin, John, founder of sect, i. 54; 
ii. 19 

Cambyses, Shah of Persia, conquers 
Egypt, i. 28; in Behistun inscrip- 
tion, ii. 233 

Campus Martius, Isiac temple in, i. 53 ; 
death of Simon Magus in, L 178 

Candahar, named after Alexander, 
i 5 

Caaaidia or Gratidia, witch of Horace's 
Epad&t, i. 108 

C&nopus* decrees of, i. 52 n. 1; 
sanctuary of Isis at, L 86 u, 1 

Cappadocia, Kings of, claim descent 
from Persian heroes, ii. 225 n. 1 

Capua, inscription to Isis found at, 
L 75 n. 2 

Caria, worship of double axe in, ii 
67 n. 3 

Carpocrates the heresiarch, magic 
rites attributed to, i. Ill; called 
first of Gnostics, ii, 27 

Carthage, outside Persian Empire, i. 1 ; 
Alexander's plans concerning, i. 
6; Roman conquest of, i. 15; ii. 

Carus, the Emperor, his victories over 
Persians, ii. 226 

Cas sander, patron of Euhemerus, i. 19 

Caulacau, mystic name common to 
Ophites and Basilidians, ii. 94 

Cautes and Cautopates, torch-bearers 
of Mithras, ii. 245, 246, 247 

Celeus, legendary King of Eleusis, i. 

Celsus the Epicurean, quoted, i. Ivii, 
73, 200; ii. 66, 67, 69 

Cenchreae, Isiac festival at, described, 
L 71 

Cephisus, the, bridge over, its part in 
Eleusinian procession, i. 39 

Cerberus, resemblance of triple mon- 
ster of Serapis to, i. 49 

Cerdo the heresiarch, teaches at Home, 
ii. 9; his doctrines, ii. 205 

Ceres, god of Nature as Earth ap. 
Cicero, i. Ivi; identified with Isis 
by Apuleius, i. 56. See Demeter 

Cerinthus the heresiarch, opponent of 
St John, ii, 9 n. 1; said to have 
been pupil of Philo, ibid. 

Chaeremon, says Egyptian magician 
threatens gods, i. 104 n. 3 

Chaldaea, birthplace of astrology, i. 
113; captivity of Jews in, i. 150; 
Jews tributaries to, i. 160 n. 4 

Chaldaeans, oppressive rule of, i. 3; 
suzerains of Jews, i. 150 ; their in- 
fluence on Mithraism, ii. 241 

Chalmers,. Thomas, founder of sect, 
ii. 19 

Chandragupta or Sandracottus, father 
of Amitrochates, i. 8 n. 3 ; grand- 
father of Asoka, i. 20 

Chaos, child of Orphic Chronos, i. 123 ; 
known to Aristophanes, i. 124; 
egg formed from, i. 123, 144; 
laldabaoth and, ii. 46 n. 3, 155; 
Valentinians make Beelzebub ruler 
of, ii. 109; Pistis Sophia raised 
from, ii. 156; Pistis Sophia's 
descent into, ii. 156, 162; Pistis 
Sophia does not describe, ii. 163; 



described in Texts of Saviour, ii. 
182, 186 

Charcot, Dr his hypnotic experiments 
at Salpetriere, i. 110 

Charles, Dr R. H., quoted, i. 159 n. 1, 
160, 161, 165, 166, 167, 168, 169, 
170; ii. 60 n. I 

Charm6n, receiver of Ariel in Texts of 
Saviour, ii. 186 

Ghavannes, Ed. M., translates Traitt 
Manich^en, ii. 352. See Pelliot, 
Tun-huang MS. 

China, Manichaean documents dis- 
covered in, i. lix ; Manichaeans in, 
ii. 357 

Chinese, their god Thian, i. 73 n. 4 

Chin vat, the Bridge, in Zoroastrianism, 
ii. 110 n. 2, 311 

Chosroes, the Shah, his defeat by 
Heraclius, ii. 227 

Christ, Manes tries to include religion 
of, in his own, i. Iviii; statue of, 
in Alexander Severus' lararium, i. 
82; bishops of, worship Serapis 
ap. Hadrian, i. 86; name of, has 
hidden meaning (Justin Martyr), 
i. 170 n. 5 ; " heresies before the 
Coming of," ii. 25; angel of Great 
Counctt, ii. 43; Ophite Sophia 
makes Prophets prophesy of, ii. 
53, 59 ; descent of Ophite, through 
seven heavens, ii. 59; Ophite 
Christ raises Jesus after Crucifixion, 
ii. 60 ; Ophites turn figure of, from - 
teacher to messenger, ii. 82; 
Saturninus says He was sent to 
destroy Judaism, ii. 89; of Basi- 
lides makes Kirn son of Great 
Archon, ii. 91; ascension of, imi- 
tated on Mithraic monuments, ii. 
248. See Archon Jesus 

Christianity, importance of study of 
its origins, i. xlix; dislike of its 
comparative study, i. Ii, liv; 
inspirational view of its history, 
i. liii ; Judaism not its rival, i. liv 
early competitors with, i. Iv Iviii; 
spread of Greek language favours, 
i. 9; Alexander the Great's 
services to, i. 27; its rise brings 
about decline of Alexandrian 
religion, i. 81; Isis- worshippers 
converted to, en bloc, i. 84; its 
cardinal tenets preserved at Re- 
formation, i. 88; said to be mere 
episode in history of Gnosticism, 
i. Ill; most bitter enemy of 
Gnosticism, i. 112, 120; ii. 23, 
359 sqq. ; system of correspond- 
ences and, i. 115; its concessions 

to Sun- worshippers, i. 118; Gnos- 
ticism does not compete with, 
until nnd cent., ii. 2; state does 
not at first persecute, ii. 7 ; lower 
classes in Egypt first converts to, 
ii. 8 n. 5, 89 n. 1 ; never Judaeo- 
Christian in Egypt, ii. 9 n. 1, 131 ; 
wars against Hellenistic culture, 
ii. 10; accuses sects of obscene 
rites, ii. 18 ; converts wealthy and 
learned Gnostics, ii. 21 ; persecutes 
Gnostics, ii. 23; Ophites earlier 
than, ii. 26; its relations with 
Ophites in post-Christian times, 
ii. 56, 82; history of Egyptian, 
obscure, ii. 200; attraction of 
Borne for innovators on, ii. 203; 
Marcion's attempt to reform, fruit- 
less, ii. 222; Manes* imperfect 
acquaintance with, ii. 280; shares 
with Mithraism devotion of legions, 
ii. 283 ; compromises of Manichae- 
ism with, ii. 317, 319, 320, 339, 350, 
351; Manichaeism really opposed 
to, ii. 318, 357; relations of neo- 
Manichaeism with, ii. 339 ; obliga- 
tions of, to rivals, ii. 360 ; triumph 
of, ii. 361 

Christians, political, not religious, 
offenders against Roman state, i. 
Ivi; expect catastrophes at des- 
truction of Serapeum, i. 84; said 
to worship Serapis (Hadrian), i. 86 ; 
formulate doctrine of Trinity, L 
89 n. 2 ; accusations of immorality 
by and against, i. 179 ; considered 
Jews until reign of Vespasian, ii. 4 ; 
say old world passing away, ii. 5; 
proscribe heretical writings, ii. 12 ; 
apostolic, uneducated men, ii. 83 
7i. 1 ; obliged to recognize Greek 
philosophy, ii. 88 ; good position of, 
in Alexandria, ii. 94 ; belief of, early, 
as to Eucharist, ii. 171 ; oriental, 
flock into Rome under Hadrian, 
ii, 203; use of "Brother" and 
"Father" by, ii. 261; extinguish 
Mithraism before other heathen 
religions, ii. 272; condemned by 
Manichaeans for adherence to Old 
Testament, ii. 315; Manichaeans 
not, ii. 318, 350; Manichaeans 
confused with, by Chinese, ii. 357 ; 
Julian repairs heathen temples at 
cost of, ii. 358 

Christos the Ophite, Third Man in 
Ophite system, ii. 42, 59; drawn 
up with his mother into incor- 
ruptible aeon, ii. 43 ; springs from 
" .t side of First Woman, ii. 46 ; 




angel or messenger of triune Deity, 
ii 54, 63, 64, 65 ; Ms two visits to 
earth, ii. 59 ; descends with Sophia 
into Jesus, ii. 60, 61, 79; brings 
Mysteries to earth, ii. 65; repre- 
sented by yellow circle in Diagram, 
ii 68; likeness of Third Sonhood 
of Basilides to, ii. 94 
Christos, the Valentinian, projected by 
Nous and Aletheia, ii. 105 ; draws 
Sophia within the Pleroma, ii. 105, 
114; prayer of Sophia Without to, 
and its result, ii. 106; Marcus' 
juggling with name of, ii. 129; 
consents to projection of Jesus the 
Great Fruit of Pleroma, ii. 159 n. 3 
Chronos, First Being of Orphics, i 

123; ii. 236 

Church, the Catholic, early dislike of, 
for science of religion, i. liv ; des- 
troys traces of religions which she 
supersedes, i. lix ; likeness of Alex- 
andrian festivals to those of, i. 75 ; 
Alexandrian clergy divided into 
seculars and regulars like that of, 
i 79 ; preserves or revives features 
of Isis-worship, i 84; worship of 
Virgin introduced into, at destruc- 
tion of Serapeum, i 85 ; celebration 
of Eucharist in, temp. Justin, i. 87 n. 
1; Simon Magus' aerial flight the 
tradition of, L 178; resemblance 
of Gnostic sects to Protestant 
bodies outside, ii. 19; Protestant 
opponents of, lean to Unitarianism, 
ii. 20; most Gnostics eventually 
join, ii. 21 ; makes no great con- 
quests after suppressing Gnostic- 
ism, ii. 23, 24 ; begins to define and 
enforce orthodoxy, ii. 77; Valen- 
tinus first serious competitor of, 
ii. 93; Valentinian houses of 
prayer confiscated for use of, ii. 96 ; 
accuses Valentinus of polytheism, 
ii. 100; Valentinus expects to 
become bishop of (Tertullian), ii. 
117; Valentinus member of, in 
papacy of Eleutherus, ii. 121; 
Valentinus never hostile to, ii. 125 ; 
seduction scandals not unknown in, 
ii 129; growing power of, before 
Constantine, ii 132 ; Valentinianism 
good recruiting-ground for, ii. 133 ; 
Christology of Pistis Sophia not 
different from that of, ii. 144; 
Mysteries of the Light of P.S. 
fsrobably sacraments of, ii 173; 
modifies her eaehatology and ritual, 
B. 201; Marcion claimed as first 
&, 207 ; Marekm re- 

jects most traditions of, ii. 214; 
Marcionite dated inscription earlier 
than any of, ii. 216 ; Apelles nearer 
to doctrine of, than Marcion, ii 
219; Arian controversy brings 
speculations about Divine Nature 
within, ii. 221 ; priests of Mithras 
not like those of, ii. 273; Mani- 
chaeans worst European enemies 
of, ii. 357 ; Constantine's accession 
leads to forcible suppression of 
heathenism by, ii. 358 
Church, the Manichaean, its pre- 
destinarian teaching, ii. 309; 
consists of Perfects and Superiors 
only, ii 313 ; its magistri, ii. 328 n. 
1 ; its constitution, ii. 330 ; its 
schisms, ii. 342; its suppression 
and revival, ii. 356, 357 
Church, the Primitive, its miracles, 
i Ii; ii 361; its rivals, i Ivii, Ixii; 
its germ in Greek religious con- 
fraternities, i 21; its borrowings 
from Alexandrian religion, i. 84, 
85 ; its fundamental doctrines not 
borrowed, i 88 ; its heresies, i 1 19 ; 
its belief as to martyrdom, i. 145 n. 
1 ; ii. 127 ; its community of goods, 
i 162; its angelology, i 201; its 
proselytizing zeal, ii 2, 8; its 
tradition as to early Gnostics, ii. 
8, 9; its destruction of Gnostic 
books, ii. 12; Asiatic Celts great 
source of heresy in, ii. 29 ; acrostics 
and word-puzzles used by, ii. 35; 
Ophites attend services of, ii. 63; 
Ophites connect sacraments of, 
with heathen mysteries, ii. 82; 
Trinitarian views of, ii 121; 
Valentirdans attend services of, ii. 
125 ; baptismal theories of, ii. 168 ; 
Eucharistic theories of, ii. 172; 
Gnosticism both danger and help 
to, ii 202; Marcion's relation to, 
ii 204 sqq.; addiction of, to 
visions of prophets, ii 219 ; Fathers 
say Mithraists copy its sacraments, 
ii 247, 260 ; its alliance with Con- 
stantine. ii. 261, 271 
Cicero, quoted, i. Ivi, Ivii n. 1, 129; 

ii. 32 
Cilicia, settlement of Persians in, ii. 

Circus Maximus, resort of vagabond 

magicians, temp. Tiberius, i. 10S 
Claudius I, the Emperor, no Christian 
converts of rank in reign of (Julian), 
ii 8 n. 5 

Claudius IE, the Emperor, cannot expel 
Goths from Dacia, ii 271 


373 of Assos, Ophite silence as 
to, ii. 83 

Clement of Alexandria, accused of 
heresy, ii. 14 n. 1; initiated into 
heathen mysteries, ii. 21 n. 3 ; his 
fairness to Gnostics, ii. 76 n. 2, 
95 n. 2, 199 ; says angels dwelling 
in soul, Platonic, ii. 110 n. 1 ; first 
Greek author to mention Buddha, 
ii. 286 n. 4; quoted, i. 40 n. 1, 
47 n. 3, 61 n. 1, 73 n. 1, 89 n. 2, 
122 n. 2, 124 n. 3, 125 n. 1, 127 n. 1, 
142 n. 4, 184 n. 3, 186 nn. 2, 3, 
190 n. 1, 194 n. 1 ; ii. 14, 20 TI. 1, 
37 n. 1, 39 ft. 4, 45 n. 1, 50 7t. 2, 
65 7i. 3, 88 n. 3, 93 ft. 4, 95 n. 2, 
100 TMI. 2-6, 101 n. 2, 106 n. 3, 
110 w. 1, 112 n. 3, 113 w. 1, 118, 
119, 122 n. 1, 125 n. 3, 129 n. 3, 
135 n. 3, 140 n. 2, 144 TI. 1, 177 n. 4, 
188, 205 n. 5, 219 %. 2, 239 T&. 6, 
286 n. 4. See Theodoti, Excerpta 

Clement of Rome, quoted, L 8 n. 2; 
ii. 65 n. 3 

Clementines, the, a religious romance, 
i. 178; Tubingen theory as to, 
i. 179; quoted, i 158 n. 4, 178, 
181 n. 3, 182 nn. 3, 6, 198; ii. 4. 
n. 1, 82 7i. 2, 219 TI. 2 

Cleomenes, Satrap of Egypt under 
Alexander, i. 29 

Cleopatra, last of Ptolemies, i, 30 

Clitus, death of, i. 13 

Coddiani, an Ophite sect, ii 27 
n. 1 

Colarbasus, confusion as to name of, 
ii. 20 n. 1. See Marcus 

Commagene, favourite recruiting- 
ground of legions, ii. 229 

Commodus, the Emperor, appears in 
procession of Isis, i. 54; defiles 
temple of Mithras with real murder, 
ii. 262 ; initiated into Mysteries of 
Mithras, ii. 270 

Confessors. See Martyrs 

Confraternities, religious, among pre- 
Christian Greeks, i. 21; hymns 
composed by, i. 21 n. 1 ; frequented 
by courtezans, i. 22; superstitious 
practices of, i. 23 ; contrast between 
Persian and Egyptian priests and 
those of Greek, i. 25; propaganda 
of, i. 26 ; Alexandrian religion first 
spread by, i. 52, 77 ; Greek Orphics 
not formed into, i. 139 n. 3, 141 ; 
secret, among Jews, temp. Christ, 
i. 175 

Conington, Prof. John, his version of 
Hymn of Great Mysteries, quoted, 
ii. 54 

Constantine, the Emperor, his pact 
with the Church, i. Mi, Ixii; ii. 9, 
12, 261, 271 ; his edict as to heresy, 
i. lix n. 1 ; ii. 359 ; his conversion 
leaves Alexandrian religion still 
powerful, i. 83 ; many Simonians in 
reign of, i. 200; only baptized on 
his deathbed, ii. 168 n. 6 ; his con- 
version enables Christians to sup- 
press Gnosticism, ii. 199 ; and puts 
stop to spread of Marcionism, ii. 
220; his failure against Persians, 
ii. 226; his family religion Sun- 
worship, ii. 261 ; his enquiry into 
Manichaeism, ii. 355; persecution 
of Manichaeans slackens in reign 
of, ii. 356 

Copernicus, i. 117 

Corbicius or Kubrik, name of Manes 
in Christian tradition, ii. 279, 286 

Corbulo, his wars with Persians, ii. 225 

Cora or Kore, inseparable from 
Demeter, i. 127 w. 3 ; ii. 45 n. 1 ; 
called Mise at Pergamum, i. 143 n. 
1. See Persephone, Proserpine 

Correspondences, doctrine of, i. 115 
sqq.; in system of Simon Magns, 
i. 183; in that of Ophites, ii 75; 
in Bruce Papyrus, ii. 191 n. 2. 
See Maspero 

Corybantes, the, hide pudendum of 
Bacchus in box, i. 73 w. 1 

Corybas, identified with Attis, L 139 
n. 1 

Cosmocrator, epithet of Valentinian 
Devil, ii. 108, 256 

Courdaveaux, M. Victor, quoted, ii. 
14 n. 1, 122. See Clement of 
Alexandria, Tertullian 

Crassus, his defeat by Persians, i. 8; 
ii. 225 

Cretans, call Isis, Diana Dictynna, i. 

Crete, birthplace of Zeus, i. 16 ; and 
of Zagreus, i. 37; scene of Rape 
of Persephone, i 40 n. I; Orphic 
myths early known in, i. 121, 122; 
Orphic gold plates found in, i. 131 ; 
Great Goddess of Asia worshipped 
in, ii. 45 n. 1; double axe in, ii 
67 n. 3; Ophites in, ii. 77 

Creuzer, Georg Fritz, quoted, i. 130 
n. I 

Cross, the. See Stauros; EH, Eli 

Crucifixion, the, in appearance only 
ap. Basilides, ii 17; and ap. 
Manichaeans, ii 320; Gospel of 
Nicodemus confirms Gospel account 
of, ii. 79 ; Valentinian teaching on, 
ii. 116 ; Jesus teaches for 20 years 



after (Irenaeus), iL 61 n. I ; for 12 
(Pistis Sophia and Bruce Papyrus), 
ii. 194. See Simon of Gyrene 

Cruice, the Abbe", quoted, i. 180 n. 4 

Cryptogram. See Akae, Armageddon, 
Bega, Pistis Sophia, Tazo 

Cumont, Prof. Franz, his work on 
Mithras described, ii. 236 ; quoted, 
i. 22, 119; ii. 236, 237, 238, 239, 
240, 241, 242, 243, 244, 245, 246, 
247, 248, 250, 251, 252, 253, 254, 
255, 256, 257, 258, 259, 261, 262, 
263, 264 9 265, 267, 268, 269, 270, 
272, 274, 277, 289 n. 3, 293 nn. 1, 2, 
294 n. 2, 295 n. 2, 298 n. 1, 299 n. 1, 
302 n. 1. 304 n. 1, 319 n. 1. 321, 
322 n. 2, 323 n. 2, 324 n. 4, 327 nn. 
1, 4, 328 nn. 2, 3, 329 n. 2, 332 n. 2, 
348 n. 2 

Curetes, the, their connection with 
Orphism, i. 128, 142 n. 2 ; and with 
Attis, i. 139 n. 1 

Cybele, her worship in Athenian 
associations, i. 17, 25; her legend 
in Asia Minor, i. 37; identified 
with Isis, i. 55, 56; and with 
Bemeter and Rhea, i. 124, 126; 
the Mother of the Gods, i. 136; 
Sahaziua her son, i. 137 ; feminine 
form of Dionysos, i 137 n. I ; in 
Orphic hymns, 139 n. 1, 143; 
Phrygia chief seat of worship of, 
ii. 28 ; her eunuch-priests, ii. 30 n. 
3 ; alluded to in Jeremiah, ii. 32 ; 
called .Agdistis, ii. 39; identified 
with Ma, Artemis, Aphrodite s etc., 
ii. 39, 40 ; always an earth-goddess, 
ii. 45 n. 1 ; associated with double 
axe, ii. 67 n. 3 ; her connection with 
Mithras, ii. 258 ; adored by Julian, 
ii, 269 ; worshipped in Manichaeism 
as Mother of Life, ii. 300 n. 1 

Cylon, Athens purified for murder of, 
i. 121 

Cypriotes, the, call Isis, Venus, i. 56 

Cyprus, Adonis worship in, i. 37; ii. 
40 ; Alexandrian divinities in, i. 52 ; 
and Orphic, i. 143 

Cyranides, Le Zivre des, quoted by M. 
de Mely as to "Mystery of Axe," 
ii. 67 n. 3 

Cyrenaica, the, Jewish atrocities in, 
ii. 5 91. 3 

Cyrene, Buddhist mission to King of, 
L 20; Ptolemy Soter annexes, i. 
29 j Ophites in, ii 77. 
Cyril of Alexandria, replaces Isis by 

two medical saints, i. 86 n. 1 
Cyril of Jerusalem, describes elaborate 
rite of baptism inrvthcenk,iL 22 TO. 1 

Cytheraea. See Aphrodite 

Cyzicus, worship of Alexandrian gods 

at, i. 53 ; and of Eleusinian Triad, 

i. 136 

Dacia, its settlement by Trajan, ii. 271. 
See Aurelian ; Claudius II 

Dactyli, the Idaean, first of men, i. 
106 n. 3 * 

Damascius, the neo-Platonist, quoted, 
i. 55 7k 4, 135 ; ii. 236 n. 4, 250 n. I, 
252 n. 2 

Damascus, Perdiccas attacks Egypt 
from, i. 30 

Daniel. Book of, first gives personal 
names of angels, i. 158; assumes 
nations divided among angels, i. 
199 ; addiction of Babylonian Jews 
to curious arts in, ii. 33. See Anti- 
ochus Epiphanes 

Danube Provinces, the, worship of 
Alexandrian divinities in, i. 53 

Darius, son of Hystaspes, ii. 225, 227 ; 
his inscription at Behistun quoted, 
ii. 233 

Darkness, the Dragon of Outer, the 
most terrible hell in Texts of Saviour, 
ii. 166 n. 2; its 12 torture- 
chambers, ii. 183; surrounds the 
earth, ii. 256 

Darmesteter, James, quoted, ii. 232 
nn. 1, 5, 237 n. 3, 241 n. 1, 248 n. 3, 
278 n. 1. 284, 300 n. 2, 327 n. 3 

Darwin, Charles, his doctrine of 
survival of the fittest, i. Ii sqq., 117 

David, King of Israel, vassal of 
Philistines, i. 160 n. 4 ; Psalms of, 
in Pistis Sophia, ii. 157 

Dead, Baptism for, ii. 168 ; Book of 
the, quoted, i. 31, 32, 55, 132, 134; 
iL 66.. 72 n. 3 

Death, Valentinian theories about, 
ii. 107, 110, 113, 129 n. 3 ; in Pistis 
Sophia a serpent with 7 heads, 
ii. 156 n. 3 ; of initiates in Texts of 
Saviour, ii. 167 sqq. ; in Bruce 
Papyrus, ii. 195 ; of sinner in Texts 
of Saviour, ii. 186 sq. ; of wor- 
shipper of Mithras, ii. 266; of 
Manichaean Perfect, ii. 309; of 
Manichaean Hearer, ii. 311 

Decad, of Valentinus, described, ii. 
101 ; meaning of names of, ii. "102, 
Deisidaimon, the, of Theophrastms, 

quoted, i. 140 
Delos, worship of Alexandrian gods, 

i 53 

Delphi, its oracle used to legitimize 
foreign deities, i 16; oracle of 



Serapis at Alexandria competes 
with, i. 77; no public worship at 
temple of, i. 85 ; remains of Diony- 
sos buried at, i. 125 

Demeter, scene of her trials, i. 16, 
40 n. 1 ; her wanderings shown to 
initiates, i. 40 ; her part in Anthes- 
teria, i. 42 ; likeness of legend of, 
to that of Isis, i. 43 ; identified with 
Persephone, i. 46 ; Homeric hymn 
to, quoted, i. 59 ; mystic marriage 
with Zeus, i. 61 n. 1, 133, 142 n. 4, 
144 ; consecrations to, in reign of 
VaJentinian and Valens, i. 83; 
swine sacrificed to, i. 95; mother 
of Persephone ap. Orphics, i. 124 ; 
and of lacchos, i. 125; an earth 
goddess with many names, i. 126; 
ii. 45 n. 1 ; Orphics in mysteries 
of, i. 127 n. 3 ; assessor of Dionysos 
in Pindar, i. 129 n. 3 ; alterations 
in legend of, introduced by Orphics, 
i. 130; her widespread worship, 
i. 135 ; in mysteries of Samothrace, 
i. 136 n. 2 ; associated with god of 
double axe, ii. 67 n. 3 ; appears as 
Mother of Life in Manichaeism, 
ii. 300 n. 2. See Ceres, Rayet 

Demetrius of Phalerum, takes charge 
of Ptolemy's Museum, i. 44 n. 2 

Demetrius Poliorcetes, his deification, 
i. 18 n. 4, 19; his attack on Egypt 
fails, i. 29 n. 2 

Demiurge, the, or Architect of the 
Universe, in Justinus' system, ii. 
82; called the Great Archon by 
Basilides, ii. 91; identified with 
God of the Jews by Valentinus, 
ii. 107 n. 2, 109, 114; author of 
psychic or animal souls, ii. 112 ; in 
Marcion's system, ii. 210, 211, 212, 
214 n. 3; Messiah of, ii. 211, 213; 
identified with Mithras, ii. 248 

Demophoon, Celeus' son and nursling 
of Demeter, i. 40 

Demosthenes, his oration against 
Aeschines, quoted, i. 138 

Dendera, union of Osiris and Isis 
depicted at, i. 61 n. I 

Deo, name of Demeter in Orphic 
hymn, i. 142 

Derenbourg, Hartwig, quoted, i. 163 
n. 3 

Derketo, homonym of Atargatis or 
Dea Syria (Garstang), ii. 40 n. 1, 
300 n. 2 

Despoena, epithet of Persephone, 
i. 133 

Destiny or Heimarmene, the sphere 
of, in Pistis Sophia, ii. 137 n. 2, 

143 n. 1, 153, 154; in Texts of 
Saviour, ii. 174, 184 ; in Mithraism, 
ii. 255 s0. See Moira 

Diadochi, the, or Successors of Alex- 
ander, i. 14, 52 

Diagram, the Ophites', ii. 66-71; 
prayers to powers depicted in, 
ii. 71-74 ; place of Ophiomorphus 
in, ii. 77 

Diana Dictynna, Cretan goddess 
identified with Isis, i. 56 

Didache, the, source of Apostolical 
Constitutions (Duchesne), ii. 7 n. 2 

Dieterich, Prof. Albert, quoted, i. 141, 
142 ; ii. 255. See Mithraism, Or- 

Dill, Sir Samuel, quoted, i- Ivii, lix, 24, 
54 n. 3 ; ii. 87, 272, 359 

Dinkard, the, quoted, i. 134 n. 1 

Diocletian, the Emperor, makes 
Mithraism state religion, L 81, 
119 n. 1, 228, 271 ; his persecution 
of Christians, ii. 12, 23; his 
victories over Persians, ii. 226 ; his 
adoption of Persian ways, ii, 228 

Diodorus Siculus, authority for 
Oriental religions, i. 9; quoted, 
i. 31 n. 1, 43 n. 3 

Diogenes, the Cynic, his saying about 
Patecion quoted, i. 131 

Dionysia, the, peculiarly popular in 
Northern Greece, i. 136 

Dionysion, temple of Dionysos at 
Athens, i. 42 

Dionysius, the Areopagite, his orders 
of angels, i. 188 n. 1 

Dionysos, a Thracian or Thessaliaa 
god, i. 17 ; legend of Cretan, i. 37, 
46 ; diaspasm or tearing to pieces of, 
i. 37, 125 ; identified with lacchos, 
i. 39, 40 ; and with Zagreus, i. 42, 
125 ; legend of, told in Little Myste- 
ries, i. 42 ; identified with Osiris, L 
43, 48 ; his relations with Demeter 
and Persephone, i. 47 ; ii. 39 ; iden- 
tified with Hades, i. 47, 48, 130; 
with Apollo, i. 48; god of dead 
to Alexandrians, i. 49; Boeotian 
worship of, i. 52; his mystic 
marriage with Demeter, i. 61 n. 1 ; 
called the Vine, i. 64 n. 3; his 
temple at Alexandria demolished 
by Theophilus, i. 83 ; the Liberator, 
i. 90 m. 1 ; sacrifices to, i. 95 ; his 
likeness to Taxnmuz. i. 122 n. 3; 
his legend centre of Orphic teach- 
ing, 1 123; identified with Orphic 
Phanes, i. 124, 144; with Zeus, i. 
125 n. 2; Orphics connect his 
death with man's creation and re- 



birth, i. 126 ; soul of man. part of, 
1 127, 133; omophagy chief rite 
of worship of, i. 128; ii. 112; soul 
of man united with, i. 129, 144; 
called Eubuleus, i. 133 ; widespread 
worship of, i. 135 ; identified with 
Adonis, i. 137; and Sabazius, i. 
138; and Attis, i. 139; Orphic 
hymns to, i. 142 n. 3, 143 ; son of 
Semele, i. 145 ; an androgyne deity, 
145, 185; all Graeco-Roman gods 
tend to merge in, i. 146, 147 ; will 
succeed Zeus, i 186 ; jealousy of, 
cause of diaspasm... i. 190 n. 2; 
spouse of Persephone and her son, 
ii. 39; the soul of the world, ii. 
50 n. 2 ; called Pappas, ii 57 ; and 
lao, ii. 71 n. 1. See Bacchus, lao 

Diotima, gives traditional view of 
Platonic affinity, i. 195 n. 1 

Discourse, The True, of Celsus, pro- 
bable date of, ii 66 

Bocetism, a mark of heresy, ii 17; 
Marcion's adherence to, ii 210; 
Manichaeans profess, ii. 318, 348 

Bodecad, the, of Valeatinus, ii 101 
sqq.i its duplication explained, ii. 
145 n. 8 ; Egyptian parallel to, 176 

Boinel, Jules, founder of modern 
Valentinianism, ii. 133 n. 1 

Bellinger, Dr, quoted, i. 140 nn. 2. 3; 
ii 164 n. 3, 168, 169, 172 

Bositheus the heresiarch, founder of 
sect (Eusebius), ii. 6 n. 3 

Dove, in Pistia Sophia, emblem of 
Holy Spirit, ii. 135 n. 3; and of 
Great Goddess, ibid. ; in Mani- 
chaeism, 302 n. I 

Brexler, Prof. Anton, quoted, i. 85 

Brogheda, Cromwell's letter after Siege 
of, ii. 85 n. 2 

Bualism, distinguishing feature of 
Manichaeism, ii. 289 

Buchesne. Mgr Louis, quoted, i. 89 n. 
1; ii. i TO. 5, 4, 5 . 2, 7 n. 2,11%. 2, 
14 n. I, 22 n. 2, 122 n. 1, 178 n. 1, 
202 n. 2 

Byaus, the god, worshipped in Vedas 
and by Persians, i. 73 n. 4, ii 231 
n. 1 

HJibionites, the, their connection with 
the Church at Pella, ii. 5 n. 1; 
with the Clementines, ii 82 

Ecbatana, one of the four Persian 
capitals, i 3 

Eedesia or Chureh, the incorruptible 
aeom or Pleroana of the Ophites, 
ii. 4 f 60; used for assembly of 
souls, ii 75; DEtember of third 

Valentinian syzygy, ii. 98. 100, 102 ; 
Italic school make her mother of 
Bodecad, ii. 119; power breathed 
into man in Pistis Sophia, ii. 179 

Ecclesiasticus, member of Valentinian 
Bodecad, ii 101 

Ecpyrosis or Destruction of the world 
by fire, doctrine common to Stoics 
and Persians, ii. 250; symbolized 
by lion-headed figure in Mithraism, 
ii. 251; in Manichaeism, ii. 297; 
in Mazdeism, Pistis Sophia, and 
Texts of Saviour, ii. 297 n. 1 

Ectroma or Abortion. See Sophia (2) 

Edessa, King of, protects Bardesanes, 
ii. 120 ; V alentinians of, persecuted 
by Arians, temp. Julian, ii. 132; 
Gnosticism comes into Persia from, 
ii. 283 

Edfu, Horus worshipped at, i 45; 
Ptolemies restore temple of, i. 52 

Egypt, Greek gods derived from 
(Herodotus), i 16; assigned to 
Ptolemy on Alexander's death, i. 
2Ssqq.; priestly character of re- 
ligion of, i. 31 sq. ; totemistic 
character of early religion of, i. 37 ; 
its influence on its conquerors, i 51 ; 
religion of, degenerates into sorcery, 
i 57; inspires Alexandrian views 
on next world, i. 60 ; Osiris- worship 
in, temp. Pharaohs, i. 64 n. 3; 
daily services in temples, i 66; 
early cosmogonies of, i. 73 ; ii. 36, 
175 ; Ptolemy endows Alexandrian 
religion in, i. 76; Alexandrian 
religion in, temp. Julian, i. 83 ; pre- 
Christian features surviving in, 
i. 85 sq. ; triune god worshipped in 
Pharaonic, i. 88; magicians of, 
use foreign words, i. 93; Magic 
Papyri found in, i. 97 sqq. ; Gnos- 
ticism in, quickly decays, i 111; 
earth goddess worshipped in, i. 126 ; 
Orphic hymns perhaps composed 
in, i. 141; suzerain of Solomon, 
i 160 n. 4; lower classes in, first 
become Christian, ii. 8 n. 5 ; Ophites 
in, ii. 76 sqq. See Christians, 
Eleusis, Enoch, Jews 

Egyptians, the, sacred books of, trans- 
lated into Greek, i. 9 ; opposed to 
monotheism before Alexander, i. 
11 ; priests of, oppose innovations', 
i 24 ; theocrasia known to earliest, 
i 33, 46, 54; their Osiris-worsnip 
bond with Greeks, i. 38; their 
worship of animals, i. 45; most 
superstitious and fanatic of men in 
Philhellenic times, i 50; oppose 



Alexandrian religion, ii. 51 ; respect 
paid to, in Alexandrian religion, 
i. 56, 73, 74; use foreign words in 
magic, i. 93; think earthly Nile 
copy of heavenly river, i. 116 n. 1; 
their idea of eating gods to get 
powers, i, 125 n. 3 ; their obligation 
to Hebrews ap. Artapanus, i. 173 ; 
their worship of mortal gods 
absurd to Greeks, ii. 16 ; gods of, 
husbands of their mothers, ii, 39; 
their addiction to mapping-out in- 
visible world, ii. 109 ; think only 
rich happy after death, ii. 112 n. I ; 
origin of their triune god, ii. 121 %. 
3; their use of allegory, ii. 123; 
their anxiety about nature of god 
and future of soul, ii. 131 ; embrace 
monastic life in great numbers, ii. 
175; Pistis Sophia unintelligible 
without knowledge of religion of 
Pharaonic, ii. 177 ; their horror of 
Amenti, ii. 195, 196; their enthu- 
siasm for life of priest, ii. 200; 
degradation of Christianity and 
Gnosticism by, ii. 201 ; the wisdom 
of, taught to Manes* predecessor, 
ii. 285. Bee First Man, Jews 

Egyptians, Gospel according to, said to 
contain Ophite doctrine of trans- 
migration, ii. 65, 79; possible 
source of passage in Pistis Sophia, 
ii. 161 n. 4 

Eieazareie, a word used in magic, ii. 
33 n. 2. Sec Yahweh of Israel 

Elephantine, mixed religion of Jews 
at, ii. 32 n. 4, 43 %. 2 

Eleusinia, the Festivals following 
Mysteries, i. 136 

Eleusinion, the Athenian, sacred 
things deposited in, i. 39 

Eleusis, scene of goddesses' trials, i. 
16 ; Mysteries of, described, i. 38- 
41; initiation at, preceded by 
Little Mysteries, i. 41 sq. ; likeness 
of Legend of, to that of Osiris, i. 43 ; 
date of reformation of Mysteries 
of, ibid. ; theocrasia result of, i. 46 ; 
Calathos or basket-crown of Serapis 
borrowed from, i. 49 ; Mysteries of, 
rob death of its terrors, i. 59; 
mystic marriage of god and god- 
dess crowning scene at, i. 61 n. 1 ; 
formula repeated by initiates at, i. 
62 n. 2; Alexandrian mysteries 
more popular than those of, i. 66 ; 
initiates at, carry rods, i. 68 n. 2 ; 
hereditary priesthood of, i. 76; 
worshippers of other gods con- 
secrated to those of, i. 83 ; Baubo 

a personage in Mysteries of, i. 100; 
the God and the Goddess of, i. 126 ; 
ii. 39; entry of Dionysos into, i. 
130; gods of, worshipped outside 
Attica, i. 135; reason for secrecy 
of Mysteries of, i. 139 n. 2 ; priest- 
esses of, called bees, i. 143 n. 4; 
part of Dionysos at, after Orphic 
reform, i. 145; sacramental grace 
of Mysteries of, i. 147; baptism 
among Gnostics borrows features 
from, ii. 22; Phrygian deities 
identified with those of, ii. 31; 
Ophites borrow doctrines from, ii. 
54; Ophites' opinion of Mysteries 
of, i. 57 

Eleutherna, Orphic gold plates found 
at, i. 131, 132 

Eli, Eli, lama sabaehthani, called 
names of God in magic, ii. 33 n. 2 

Elijah, the Prophet, his soul in Pistis 
Sophia placed in St John Baptist, 
ii. 137, 149, 150; in Paradise of 
Adam, ii. 179; ascension of, in- 
spires Mithraic monuments, ii. 248 

Elizabeth, mother of St John Baptist, 
her conception arranged by Sophia 
ap. Ophites, ii, 53; by Virgin of 
Light in Pistis Sophia, ii. 137 

Eloaeus, ruler of planetary sphere 
in Diagram, ii. 47, 73 ; corresponds 
to Hebrew Elohe, ii. 71 n. 1. See 

Elpis or Hope, member of Valentinian 
Dodecad, ii. 101 

Emanation, defined, i. 181 n. 2; 
doctrine common to all post- 
Christian Gnostics, ii. 19 n. I 

Empedocles, derives everything from 
four roots or elements, i. 197 

Encratites, the, sect said to be founded 
by Tatian, ii. 220 

En-ki or Ea, the god, creator of 
pattern man, i. Ixiii n. 1 

Ennead, the Egyptian, its irregular 
number of gods, ii. 92 

Ennoia, second of Simon Magus' 
six "Boots," i. 180; Simon Magus* 
called Epinoia by Hippolytus, i. 
180 n. 4; ii. 20 n. 1; in Great 
Announcement first female power, 
i. 182; her. Orphic and Jewish 
analogues, i. 185; produces angels 
who make universe, i. 187, 195; 
seized by world-making angels and 
condemned to transmigration, i. 
190, 196; identified with Helen of 
Tyre, $wZ.; redeemed by Simon, 
i. 191; inconsistency of stories 
regarding, 1. 193 ; in Ophite system, 



name of Second Man, ii. 38 ; Ophio- 
morphus called, ii. 49; spouse of 
Bythos according to some Valen- 
tinians, ii. 97 

Enoch, mass of Apocrypha connected 
with name of, i. 159, 160, 164; 
dates of same, I 162 n. 1, 163, 164 
n. 1; connection of Essenes with, 
i. 168 ; in Pistis Sophia, author of 
books written in Paradise, ii. 147 
n. 5, 194 n. 2 

Enoch, Book of, fall of angels in, 
i. 191 n. 1; ii. 154; quoted in 
Pistis Sophia, ii. 155; quoted, i. 
160, 161, 162 n. 2, 165, 169; ii. 

Enoch, Book of the Secrets of, seven 
heavens arranged 'as in Mithraism, 
ii. 257 

Epaminondas, suffers in Hades because 
not initiated, i. 131 

Ephesus, many-breasted goddess of, 
i. Ivi. 17; ii. 40; worship of 
Alexandrian gods at, i. 53; Nico- 
laitans at, ii. 25 

Ephrem Syrus, finds Valentinianism 
in Bardesanes' hymns, ii. 120 ; his 
date, ibid. ; quoted, ii 316 n. 1 

Epicurus, his statement of the problem 
of evil, ii. 217 

Epimenides, introduces Orphic myths 
into Athens, i. 121 

Epinoia. See Ennoia 

Epiphanius T bishop of Constantia, a 
Nicolaitan in his youth, i. 112 n. 1 ; 
ii. 21 n. 5 ; his ignorance about the 
Essenes, i. 155 ; his date and work, 
ii. 10, 77; quoted, i. 190, 191, 193, 
197, 198, 199; ii. 10. 11, 14, 27, 
46 . 3, 61, 79, 80, 81, 90 n. 1, 
92 n. 3, 93 nn. 1, 2, 95, 205, 213, 
215, 219, 279 n. 2 

Epitaph, Valentinian, in Via Nazion- 
ale, ii. 129 

Erataoth, name of power in Diagram, 
ii. 71 

Eratosthenes, studies at Museum of 
Alexandria, i. 45 

Ergamenes, King of Ethiopia, his 
massacre of priests of Amen, i. 
31 n. 1 

Eris-ki-gal or Ereshchigal, the goddess, 
Sumerian counterpart of Perse- 
phone, i. 100 

Eros, Horus takes attributes of, i. 50 ; 
first-bom god of Orphics, i 123; 
Orphic, known to Aristophanes, i. 
124; his likeness to Valentinian 
Agape, ii. 98 TIL 1 ; and to Marcion's 
Supreme Being, iL 210; hymns 

to, sung by Lycomidae. ii. 210 
n. 1 
Esaldaios, variant of Jaldabaoth or El 

Shaddai, ii. 46 n. 3 
Esculapius. See Asklepios 
Essarts, M. Fabre des, head of 

L'lSglise Gnostique, ii. 133 n. 1 
Essenes, the. third party among Jews, 
temp. Josephus, i. Iv, 152 ; perhaps 
borrow from Buddhism, i. 20; a 
"philosophic" sect, i. 151; mean- 
ing of name, i. 152; Josephus' 
account of, i. 152-154; Philo's, 
i. 154, 155; girdle used by them 
like Parsis* Jcosti, i 153 nn. 1, 4; 
description of, by Pliny, Hippoly- 
tus, and Porphyry, i. 155; wild 
theories about, i. 155, 156; their 
connection with Orphics, i. 156, 168 ; 
essentially Gnostics, i. 157 ; use of 
Cabala by, i. 157, 158, 169; names 
of angels kept secret by, i. 158; 
Enochian literature due to, i. 159, 
167; peculiar interpretation of 
Scripture, i. 168, 171; probably 
extinct after Hadrian, i. 170; 
divisions among, possible, i. 175 n. 
3 ; Simon Magus' teaching opposite 
to that of, i. 202 ; connection with 
Ebionites doubtful, ii. 5 n. 1; 
points in common with Christians, 
ii. 6. See Ritschl 

Ethiopia, priests of Amen flee to, i. 31 ; 
Thueris the hippopotamus goddess 
called "Cat of," i. 37 n. 1 

Ethiopians, their rule in Egypt, i. 31, 
51; worship Isis, i. 56; Psam- 
metichos expels them, i, 101 

Etymologicum Magnum. See Gaisford 

Eubouleus or Eubuleus, a name of 
Bionysos, i. 133, 137 n. 1, 142, 143; 
identified with Adonis by Orphics, 
i 137. See Zeus Chthonios 

Eubulus, author of lost work on 
Mithras, ii. 236 

Eucharist, the, rite resembling it 
among Serapiasts, i. 87; simple 
mode of celebration in Primitive 
Church, i. 87 n. 1; thaumaturgic 
accompaniments among heretics, 
ibid., and ii. 129, 187; obscene 
parody of, i. 198 ; magical efficacy 
of, among Gnostics, ii. 22, 63 ; in 
Apostolic times follows baptism 
immediately, ii. 22 n, 1; Ophite 
additions to, doubtful, ii. 61; 
Ophite ideas concerning, i 63; 
Marcus' profanation of, ii. 129; 
called a mystery, ii. 165 ; views of 
Primitive Church as to, ii 171; 



Do'Uinger's remarks on, ii. 172? 
rite described in Texts of Saviour 
and Bruce Papyrus probably Mar- 
cosian, ii. 187; celebrated with 
water among certain sects, ii. 188, 
215; ceremony resembling, in 
Mitnraism, ii. 247, 260 ; in Mani- 
chaeism probably confined to Elect, 
ii. 348. See Pistis Sophia, Bruce 
Papyrus, Huysmans 

Eudemos of Rhodes, earliest authority 
for Zervanism among Magi, ii. 236 
n. 4, 252 n. 2 

Eudoxos of Cnidos, his use of acrostics 
in astronomical work, i. 169 

Etihemenis of Messene, his theory 
that gods were deified men, i. 19 

Eukles, name of god in Orphic gold 
plate, i. 133 

Eumenides, the, said by Orphics to be 
children of Persephone, i. 142 

Eumolpidae, exegetes attached to, i. 
44 7i. 1; hereditary priests of 
Mysteries of Eleusis, i. 76 

Euphrates, the heresiarch, founder of 
Ophites ap. Origen, ii. 25; called 
the "Peratic" or Mede, ii. 26 n. I 

Euripides, Parthians act plays of, i. 8 ; 
represents Dionysos as androgyne, 

1. 47 7i. 4; supports identification 
of Dionysos and Apollo, i. 48; 
Orphic doctrines well known to, i. 
123; quoted, L 39, 128, 149 n. 1 

Europe, Alexander's marriage of, with 
Asia, i. Iviii; Oriental religions pass 
into, i. 20 ; after Alexander, Egypt 
becomes granary of, i. 28; Alex- 
andrian religion passes into, i. 77 ; 
Phrygia invaded by celibate war- 
riors from, ii. 40 

Eusebius of Caesarea, quoted, i. 199, 
200; ii.4w.3, 6w.4, IQn. 1, 12n. 5, 
18 n, 3, 23 n. 2, 83 n. 1, 88 n. 2, 
96 n. 2, 120 n. 2, 132 n. 2, 206 nn. 

2, 5, 220 n. 3, 221 n. 1, 359 
Euxitheus, the Pythagoric, authority 

for Orphic doctrine of burial of 
soul in body, i. 127 n. 1. See 

Evander, bishop of Nicomedia, rabbles 
Ophites, ii. 77 

Eve, the protoplast, confusion of name 
of, with Evoe, ii. 20 n. I ; Ophite 
legend of, ii. 52, 58, 70 ; and Mani- 
chaean, ii. 299, 306 

Evoe, word used in Mysteries of 
Sabazius, i. 138 ; in those of Attis, 
i. 139 n. 1 ; ii. 54 n. 6 ; Clement of 
Alexandria connects it with Eve, 
ii, 20 7i. 1 

Ezekiel, the Prophet, shows hatred of 
Jews for Gentiles, i. 167 n. 4; 
quoted, L 186 n. 2 ; ii. 32, 43 n. 2 

Eznig of Goghp, quoted, ii. 217, 

Ezra, the Prophet, Apocalypse attri- 
buted to, quoted, i. 163, 164, 165, 
167 nn. 3, 4; ii. 81 

Farrah (Seistan), probably Proph- 
thasia of Arrian, L 4 n. 1 

Fatak. See Patecius 

Father, Mithraic priests addressed as, 
ii. 261 ; name of highest Mithraic 
degree, ii. 262, 267 

Father-and-Son, Dionysos the double 
of his father, i. 47 ; name of Ophite 
Supreme God, ii. 38, 39, 67 ; First 
Mystery of Pistis Sophia, ii. 144; 
Mithras may be, ii. 248 

Fathers of the Church, their writings 
neglected till lately, i. 1; call all 
early heretics Gnostics, i. Iviii, 171 ; 
say Simon Magus parent of Gnos- 
ticism, i. 176, 200; know little of 
many heresies, i. 200 ; ii. 9 ; agree 
as to Ophites, ii. 36 ; their account 
of Marcus the magician, ii. 128, 
167 ; their hostility to Gnosticism 
justified, ii. 199 ; say devil inspires 
Mithraists to imitate Church, ii. 
247 ; ascribe Apocrypha of Thomas 
and Andrew toManichaeanLeucius, 
ii. 351 

Faventinus, Ulpius Egnatius, priest of 
Isis and other deities, i. 83 

Fihrist, the, of Muhammad ben Ishak 
or En-Nadim, quoted, ii. 279 n. 3, 
280, 287 7i. 4, 289 n. 2, 290 n. 3, 
291 n. I, 292, 293 n. 1, 294 n. 1, 
295 n. 1, 296 n. 1, 299 n. 2, 300 n. 2, 
302 n. 1, 304 n. 1, 309, 310, 312 
nn. 1, 2, 313, 314, 322 n. 2, 332, 
333, 342 nn. 1, 2 

Firuz. See Peroz 

Foakes-Jackson, Canon, quoted, ii. 
215 n. 1, 216 n. 4, 223 

Forefather, the Great Unseen or 
Propator, member of ruling Triad 
of Left or material powers in Pistis 
Sophia, ii. 142, 150, 155 

Foucart, M. George, quoted, i. 91 

Foucart, M. Paul, his works on 
Mysteries of Eleusis, i 38 n. 3; 
quoted, i. 17 n. 1, 21 nn. 1, 2, 22 n. 
2, 23 n. 2, 25 nn. 2, 3, 39 nn. 1-3, 40 
nn. 3, 4, 41 nn. 1-3, 42 nn. 1, 2, 
43, 44 n. 1, 47 n. 1, 48 n. 2, 52 n. 3, 
59 n. 4, 61 n. 1, 65 n. 6, 130 n. 1, 
133 7i. 1, 137 n. 5, 143 n. 4 



France, Isiac monuments found in, 

i. 53; and Mithraic, ii. 230 
Fravashis, the, or Ferouers in Maz- 

deism, ii. 110 n. 1 
Frazer, Sir James G., quoted, i. 43, 

91, 96 n. 4, 158 n> 2 
Freemasonry, Catholic accusation of 

obscene rites against, ii. 18 n. 2; 

Mithraism a Pagan (Renan), ii. 264 

Gabinius, Proconsul of Syria, rebuilds 
Samaria after destruction by Jews, 
i. 177 

Gabriel, the angel, in Book of Daniel, 
i. 158; named in Magic Papyri, 
ii. 34; name of sphere in Dia- 
gram, ii. 70; in Pistis Sophia, 
Jesus assumes shape of, at Annun- 
ciation, ii. 137, 138; with Michael 
bears Pistis Sophia out of Chaos, 
ii. 156, 355 n. 1 

Gaea or Ge, the Orphic earth goddess, 
i. 123, 133, 185; ii. 45 n. 1 

Gaisford, Dean, his notes to Etymo- 
logicum Magnum quoted, i. 137 
n. 3 

Galatae, the, their settlement in Asia 
Minor, ii. 28 

Galerius, the Emperor, speech of 
Persian ambassador to, ii. 226; 
affects state of Persian Shah, ii. 
228 n. 2 

Galli the, eunuch priests of Cybele, 
ii. 30 n. 3 

Ganymede, burlesqued in procession 
of Isis, i. 71 

Garotman, abode of Infinite light in 
Mazdeism, ii. 249 

Gaumata, the Magian pseudo-Smerdis 
in Behistun inscription, ii. 233 

Gayomort, the First Man in Mazdeism, 
i. Ixi ; slain by Ahriman, i 126 n. 3 ; 
his legend in Bundahish, ii 246 

Geb, the Egyptian earth-god, father 
of Osiris, Isis, Set and Nephthys, 
i. 33, 133 n. 1 

Gehenna, in Enochian literature, i. 
165, 167 ; in Diagram, ii. 69 

Genghiz Khan, his invasion and con- 
quests, i. 5 n. 1, 14 

Gentiles, the, their relations with Jews 
in earliest Christian centuries, i. Iv, 
Ivi; hostility of Jews against, 
partly due to Roman taxation, i. 
163 n. 1 ; final fate of, ap, Jews, 
i. 164, 165, 166, 167; rebellion 
of Jews against, i. 172; Jewish 
hatred recognized by, after Titus, 
ii. 5; non-Jewish Christianity 
necessary for conversion of, ii 21 

George the Syncellus, quoted, i 124 n. 
3. See Monogenes 

Gerizim, Mount, temple of, rival to 
that of Jerusalem, i. 177 

Germany, i. 7; Isiac monuments 
found in, i. 53; and Mithraic, ii. 

Gibbon, Edward, the historian, his 
Decline and Fall (Bury's ed.), 
quoted, i. 1, 85, 86 n. 2 ; ii. 7 n. 1, 
12 n. 5, 96 n. 3, 127 n. 4, 226 nn. 
1-6, 227 n. 1, 228 n. 2, 271 n. 2 

Gilgamesh, the Babylonian hero, ii, 
287 n. 4 

Giraud, Father Francois, his Ophitae 
quoted, i. 100 n. 1; ii. 26 n. 5, 
41 n. 2, 44 n. 2, 64, 68, 70, 71 
n. 2, 79 n. 2 

Gladstone, Mr, his controversy with 
Huxley, i. liii 

Glaucias, the interpreter of St Peter 
and teacher of Basilides, ii. 90 n. 3. 
See Ptolemy, son of Glaucias 

Glaucothea, mother of Aeschines and 
priestess of Sabazius, i. 22, 138 

Glory, the Column of, in Manichaeism, 
ii. 296, 308, 309, 332 

Glory, the King of, in Manichaeism, 
ii. 148 7t. 3; in neo -Manichaeism, 
ii. 325 

Glycon, the god worshipped at Nico- 
media, temp. Gordian, i. 24. See 
Alexander of Abonoteichos 

Gnosticism, ideas at root of, opposed 
to religion, i. 90 ; the importance of 
knowledge of the spiritual world, 
i 111; Christianity may be only 
episode in history of, ibid. ; impulse 
given to, by rise of astrology, i. 119 ; 
earliest pre-Christian form of, i. 
120; Simon Magus said to be 
parent of all later, i. 176 ; a hydra, 
i. 200; does not compete with 
orthodox Christianity till md cent., 
ii. 2; early converts from, ii. 21; 
its services to Church, ii. 21, 
202 ; alleged necessity for forcible 
suppression of, ii. 23; Montanisrn 
and, only formidable heresies in 
early centuries, ii. 29 n. 1 ; likeness 
of, to Cabala,